- Program Year: 2
- Academic Institution: Louisiana State University
- Field of Study: Experimental Nuclear Astrophysics
- Academic Advisor: Catherine Deibel
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (2018)
B.S. Physics, University of Richmond, 2013
Summary of Research
I work in nuclear astrophysics, which involves the study of reactions occurring in various stellar environments and how those reactions create the elemental abundances we see in the universe. My particular focus is on reactions of importance in the most common stellar explosions: classical novae and X-ray bursts. In order to study some of these reactions, we are developing a new experimental setup at Florida State University (FSU) for measuring properties of excited states in nuclei that influence reaction rates. As an Enge Split-Pole Spectrometer (SPS) is being installed at FSU, I am designing, constructing, and testing auxiliary detector systems in house at Louisiana State University.
My current work includes the design of the Silicon Array for Branching Ratio Experiments (SABRE) for the detection of charged-particle decays from excited states populated via transfer reactions occurring in the target, testing of digitizer electronics for signal pulse-shape analysis allowing for increased count rates and lower energy thresholds, and the design and construction of a new position-sensitive ionization chamber at the focal plane of the array to measure light reaction products that have been momentum analyzed in the SPS.
This improved experimental setup will allow for more accurate determination of reaction rates important to classical novae and X-ray burst nucleosynthesis. By using this setup to study transfer reactions from light, stable beams of nuclei incident on heavy stable targets, we will contribute to the knowledge of branching ratios, excited states in nuclei, and spins of energy levels that correspond to resonances in astrophysical reactions of interest. Using this new information, accurate reaction rates can be calculated for some of the most influential reactions in these stellar explosions, improving our knowledge of astrophysical processes.
"Enge Split-Pole Spectrometer Project: Designing SABRE," Poster Presentation at the Exotic Beam Summer School (EBSS), August 2015
"Pu236(n,f), Pu237(n,f), and Pu238(n,f) cross sections deduced from (p,t), (p,d), and (p,p') surrogate reactions," R. O. Hughes, C. W. Beausang, T. J. Ross, J. T. Burke, R. J. Casperson, N. Cooper, J. E. Escher, K. Gell, E. Good, P. Humby, M. McCleskey, A. Saastimoinen, T. D. Tarlow, and I. J. Thompson. Phys. Rev. C 90, 014304. (July 14, 2014).
"Exploring the Level Schemes of Nuclei in the Z=38 to 40 Range," Poster Presentation at the University of Richmond School of Arts and Sciences Student Symposium, April 2013
"Exploring the Level Schemes of Nuclei in the Z=38 to 40 Range," Poster Presentation at the American Physical Society Division of Nuclear Physics Conference: Conference Experience for Undergraduates (CEU), October 2012
Graduated Magna Cum Laude
Dean's List: Spring 2013, All 2012, All 2010, Fall 2009
Grainger Undergraduate Student Research Grant, Summer 2012
Sigma Pi Sigma National Physics Honor Society, inducted Spring 2012
Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, inducted Spring 2012
Phi Kappa Mu Music Honorary Society, University of Richmond, inducted Spring 2012
Golden Key International Honor Society, inducted Spring 2011
Phi Eta Sigma National First-Year Honor Society, inducted Spring 2010