Outreach & Education

Outreach & Education

Nuclear Science for the community

The NSL actively engages in a variety of educational and outreach programs and products directed at students from middle school through postdoctoral training. The lab also participates in the REU/RET (Research Experience for Undergraduates and Teachers) program that attracts high school teachers and students to do research in the laboratory for two months in the summer. Beyond these activities, the NSL continues to develop new research activities in applying nuclear physics techniques for the analysis of art material and historical artifacts collaborating with the ND Library, Snite Art Museum, and the Departments of Anthropology, Art, and Architecture.


Young Scientists Shine at the Prairie Vista Science Fair

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Graduate students Sam Porter, Scott Carmichael, Will von Seeger and faculty member Patrick O'Malley helped judge in the 2023 Prairie Vista science fair. The focus of the fair saw the students, with wide ranging research interests, discuss and explain their research with an aim to help understand and explain the scientific process. With so many amazing projects on display the judging was a difficult task, but will ultimately help decide upcoming researchers to represent at the state level.     
Feb. 2023

NSL Opens its doors to the public

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The Nuclear Science Laboratory hosted a public open house on the Saturday Notre Dame vs. Stanford football game. Activities consisted of a public lecture on “The History and Science of the Notre Dame Nuclear Science Laboratory”, lab tours given by current graduate students and live table top demonstrations. Many participants were amazed at the scope of the facility that is right on campus and came away with an appreciation for the unique research that is being performed at Notre Dame.
Oct. 2022

Notre Dame attends the 2022 Physics Congress

Manoel Couder was the NSL's representative to the 2022 Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Congress (PhysCon). This event gathers about 1200 physics undergraduate students from a broad range of undergraduate institutions representing a very diverse group of (future) physicists. A few hundred students at various stages of their undergraduate careers expressed their interest in the research program of the NSL either for a potential application to gradschool or to participate in the REU program. The congress was also an opportunity to catch up with previous REU students that were presenting the results of their work at the poster session.
Oct. 2022

DOE HIPPO collaboration hosted at Notre Dame

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Undergraduate and graduate students of the DOE funded HIPPO group (Notre Dame PI Graham Peaslee) visited the NSL from June 27 - July 1 to learn about accelerator-based isotope production methods. They are pictured here with graduate students Tony Miller and Gunnar Brown who were running an isotope production experiment on the FN this week. We successfully made and measured cross sections for the heavy ion (16-oxygen) production of Arsenic-70 and Arsenic-71 isotopes.
Jun. 2022

Exotic Beam Summer School held at Notre Dame

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From June 6 to 10, 2022 the Exotic Beam Summer School (EBSS) attracted 40 graduate students and a post doc from around the country as well as internationally to the University of Notre Dame. This 19th edition of the school, one of the most valued in the low-energy nuclear physics community, was the first after a three year hiatus due to the pandemic. Needless to say the students were excited to participate in the series of hands-on activities offered in the afternoon (a unique feature of the EBSS), the morning lectures, as well as the evening social activities.
Jun. 2022

Winamac Community High School Group Learns About ISNAP Research

A group of students from the Winamac Community High School took the opportunity to learn about nuclear physics at the NSL this week, when Ed Stech provided a tour and discussions about on-going research. The group learned about the principles of nuclear interactions, the cool equipment we use to facilitate the reaction and the way undergraduate and graduate students perform research in the lab. Happily the conversations and questions continued on into the classroom upon the groups return.
Mar. 2022

Bardayan takes students on educational trip to sites of National Security Interest

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As part of the Notre Dame International Security Center (NDISC), Profs. Mike Desch, Dan Lindley, and Dan Bardayan lead annual Spring Break student trips to visit sites of National Security Interest. NDISC seeks to educate exceptional undergraduate students in the area of international security, broadly defined. This purpose of the trip is twofold: 1) To expose students to the history of the nuclear age through direct immersion in one of the central foci of the development of U.S. nuclear weapons 2) To expose students to the state-of-the-art facilities and capabilities that exist at national defense related sites. More info.
Mar. 2022

ISNAP and GPS at Science Alive 2022

Members from the physics department (Institute for Nuclear Structure and Astrophysics (ISNAP) and the Graduate Physics Society (GPS)) participated in this year's Science Alive event in the newly renovated downtown South Bend Library. Science Alive is a yearly family-friendly event where local science-related groups participate with demos and info tables to bring science to the community. This was the first time in two years an interactive in-person event was held. Volunteers from the department interacted with the public through a number of demonstrations that wowed visitors young and old. Superconducting tracks and smashing marble nuclei were part of the fun. The physics demonstrations were part of a larger effort that included other departments and ND Energy.
Feb. 2022

NSL at the Science Olympiad

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The Fighting Irish Science Olympiad brought 200 high school students from the Midwest to the Notre Dame campus to compete in science challenges. The participants had an opportunity to learn about the Nuclear Science Laboratory and take a tour of the facility. A number of faculty and graduate student tour guides showed the visitors the lab in small groups and gave an overview of the broad array of research performed at the lab. The students were able to see the three on-campus accelerators, experimental facilities, and also get information on studying physics in college and beyond. The students left impressed and gave the experience a thumbs up!
Jan. 2022

Aprahamian Discusses FRIB "keys to the center of atoms" with Axios

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Aprahamian interview answers questions on the why, what, where and how of the FRIB "Big Picture" science in a new article by Axios: "This powerful new accelerator looks for keys to the center of atoms"
Jan. 2022

Simon-Robertson Presentation & Discussion with Notre Dame Astronomy Club

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In October a group of eighteen Notre Dame undergraduates from across the campus came together in DeBartolo Hall for a presentation on production of elements across the Universe. Anna Simon-Robertson presented “The Cauldrons of the Cosmos - nuclear astrophysics in stellar objects”. The talk covered a range of astrophysical processes that produce elements – from the lightest to the heaviest we know to exist – in a variety of stellar environments. After the talk, the students had a chance to ask questions and get involved in a discussion of the interplay between nuclear physics and astronomy, learning about the various research projects that are conducted at the Nuclear Science Lab.
Oct. 2021

Wiescher and "Ben Franklin's Clever Tricks to Foil Currency Counterfeiters"

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Expanding the publics perception of nuclear physics to include more than just the atomic bomb or nuclear power plants is a key goal for University of Notre Dame nuclear physicist, Michael Wiescher. Investigating the impact nuclear physics can have on the understanding of our history and culture has long been a passion of many physicists, and by applying his expertise, Wiescher can use a wide range of imaging hardware and techniques to shed light on the buried past. In an interview with ars TECHNICA Wiescher explains the power and scope of such investigations. The full article can be found at ars TECHNICA
Nov. 2021

FN Accelerator School Teaches Operation and Understanding

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After a short break due to corona virus precautions, the NSL started back up its bi-annual Accelerator School. This July the school focused on the operation and theory behind the FN 10 MV van de Graff accelerator. Training the next generation in accelerator operations encourages the graduate student cohort (typically around 35 students) to branch out from their specialized area of research, and get involved in a multitude of experiments. This year saw 27 participants ranging from undergraduates to postdocs work through theory and practical exercises, to the point of solo operation.
Jul. 2021

Philippe Collon Helping To Analyze Art And Fight Fraud

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We can no longer evaluate just the surface of a painting. Scientific techniques, including the use of a nuclear accelerator, can tell us much more about a piece of art’s history and authenticity. Join Dr. Philippe Collon, associate professor of experimental nuclear physics at the University of Notre Dame Nuclear Science Lab, as he shares in this virtual presentation how the same science that allows us to look at the stars allows us to look under the surface of great works of art. The presentation has been recorded for later viewing. More information can be found here The Community Library.
Jan. 2021

ISNAP REU 2020 Program Offered Online by Manoel Couder and Anna Simon

Despite travel restrictions and lab closures, the REU program at the University of Notre Dame hosted fourteen undergraduate students this summer. Five of them joined the NSL and, under the supervision of Profs. Manoel Couder and Anna Simon, worked on Geant4 simulations of experiments at the NSL. Adam, Isabella and Stanford used Geant4 to evaluate the impact of various parameters (incoming energy and mass, foils thickness, presence of magnetic field, ...) on the efficiency of the focal plane detection system of St. George. Cassidy and Ryan carried on an investigation of the detail of a clover detector design to create a simulation of a STARLiTeR-like array for future measurements at the NSL. They presented their results during the REU seminar at the end of the summer and then during the DNP CEU event in October 2020 that was hosted online by the Louisiana State University.
Aug. 2020

Grad Student Chevelle Boomershine, Volunteer Judge in Indiana Science Fair

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ISNAP graduate student Chevelle Boomershine volunteered to help fellow judges at the 2020 Northern Indiana Regional Science and Engineering Fair (NIREF) held in DeBartolo Hall at the University of Notre Dame. Students in grades 3-12 from area schools in Elkhart, Fulton, Marshall, and St. Joseph Counties, who were selected by the judges at their local school fairs, presented their projects at NIRSEF with the goal of advancing to the State Fair on March 28. Exciting projects such as "Magnetizing Oil Spills" and "A Functional Homemade Radon Detector" forced a tie in the junior division. With “Using Eggshells and Turkey Bones as Catalysts to Produce Biodiesel Through Transesterification” taking the senior top spot.
Feb. 2020

ISNAP Grad Students Join In The Fun at Art 2 Science Summer Camp

The Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics, Center for the Evolution of Elements (JINA-CEE) sponsored the 2019 Art 2 Science summer camp at Notre Dame. The exciting hands-on approach to interactive learning has been a staple of the ISNAP outreach program for many years. The camp is usually attended by approximately 150 participants per session, all from the age of 7 and upwards. ISNAP graduate and undergraduate students are always elbow deep in the fun activities, helping to guide campers through the exciting experiments and nurture the curiosity if the next generation of scientists and inventors.
Jul. 2019

Tan Ahn Talks "Stuff Of The Universe" at One book, One Michiana Public Event

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As a part of the ongoing initiative of the St Joseph County Library, One Book, One Michiana, Professor Tan Ahn of Notre Dame presents a look at "Elements: Journey through the Stuff of the Universe". In honor of Douglas Adams' chosen book, The hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Ahn gives an inside look at the Universe and what makes up ... well ... everything. Aimed at the young scientist in every child, the exploration of the Universe is never out of reach. This is the 10th year of the program which aims to unite the community through compelling literature and lively discussion.
Apr. 2019