Thursday, April 13, 2017

URSP Student Andrew Hornstra Researches Nuclear Quadruple Resonance

My junior year, I took the Physics 306 course offered at George Mason. The course is on wave motion and electromagnetic radiation, and I found that I really enjoyed those topics. When I approached Dr. Karen Sauer, who taught the course, about research opportunities, I was fortunate that she had a project in nuclear quadruple resonance, which heavily involved those concepts. It has been an amazing source of hands on experience working with specialized and standard equipment in a lab setting, as well as learning how to approach learning new software.

Long term, I plan on teaching and researching in physics. Finding and being involved in a field that I find so interesting has helped to prepare me those things by not only giving me experience in a lab, but by helping me gain a more intuitive and robust understanding of a topic I would love to teach.

My time in the lab is spent in a variety of ways. I build the circuits and filters that I need for my experiment, and this requires a lot of calculations and soldering. Since I need to create multiple value arrays, each with thousands of values, I get to apply some of the coding experience I have gained. The waves course helps me to work more easily with the equations I need to find methods to calculate the values. All of this is part of making the hardware and information I need to perform experiments in the regions that we are interested in.