Author: Evan Szymanski
Date: January 18, 2016
Categories: Academics|Biology|Chemistry|Computer Science|Mathematics|Physics

With two students taking first place in the student poster award category

Last November, Houghton science students traveled to three different conferences across the country to present the results of research conducted via the college’s Summer Research Institute (SRI). One of the groups came away with a first-place award.

Houghton College senior physics students Thomas Eckert ’16 and August Gula ’16 were recognized for an outstanding presentation in the Education and Outreach: Undergraduate/High School Research Session at the 57th Annual Meeting of the American Physical Society (APS) Division on Plasma Physics, receiving first place in the Student Poster Award.

The poster presentation, entitled “Efficiency Calibration for Measuring the 12C(n,2n)11C Cross Section,” was on research done in collaboration with SUNY at Geneseo, the University of Rochester, and the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Houghton professor Dr. Mark Yuly, who headed the research, said it has a significant role in “working toward providing clean energy through nuclear fusion.”

Students and faculty from the biology and chemistry departments also attended the Rochester Academy of Science 42nd Annual Fall Scientific Paper Session. Chemistry students Mary (Grace) Hollenbeck ’16, Sarah Rexroad ’16, Jordan Scott ’17 and Daniel Hammers ’17 presented research also done through SRI, their projects entitled “Synthesis of Biodegradable Polymers” and “Development of Greener Oxidation Methods Using Palladium,” which were parts of continuing research led by Houghton professors Dr. John Rowley and Dr. Karen Torraca. The biology students presented studies related to their fields.

That same month, Houghton professor Dr. Kurt Aikens and students Andrew Redman ’17 and Kyle Craft ’16 traveled to the APS Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting in Boston to present their research on large eddy simulations. They successfully tested an assumption that reduced the cost of the simulations by 39% and hope their work will eventually help predict and reduce jet engine noise.

The SRI allows math and science students to interact collaboratively with faculty and combine skills learned in all STEM disciplines towards a single goal. “I am interested in nuclear physics and plasma physics,” said Gula. “This was a great opportunity for me to get the chance to work on research that applied to both fields. Being able to do research at Houghton has helped me to grow closer to being the researcher that I would like to become.”