PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Thursday, September 25, 2014

Opportunity Knocks

Opportunity Knocks
The lives of two dozen UCSB physics majors have been changed for the better in recent years, through Worster Summer Research Fellowships

(Santa Barbara, Calif.) — If college students wrote essays about what they did during summer vacation, the half dozen participating in this year’s Worster Summer Research Fellowships at UC Santa Barbara would have amazing stories to tell. These undergraduate physics majors were paid to conduct 10 weeks of research — ranging from astrophysics to biophysics to theoretical physics — under the direct supervision of graduate student mentors.

Senior Ari Kaplan simulated different models and compared them to data generated by the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), where the Higgs boson was discovered. He was looking for the signature of a particular type of decay, which might confirm that supersymmetric particles exist and do not need to be produced in pairs.

Jackie Geler Kremer, a senior, spent her time in a wet lab searching for DNA-templated silver nanoclusters with the brightest fluorescence. She was looking for the best candidates to use for sensing and imaging applications.

Senior Joey Wong examined how heavy metals behave in merging galaxies — information that may offer hints about how the Milky Way and Andromeda will merge in a few billion years.

“This is my first summer involved with the Worster program,” said astrophysicist Crystal Martin, a professor in UCSB’s Department of Physics. She supervised Wong’s research along with graduate student Stephanie Ho. “To me one of the great opportunities that big research universities can offer is not only helping students learn all that is known about a topic but also teaching young people to go out and create new knowledge and answer unsolved questions.”

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