Research with Students

Student Research at Reed

Will Ashfield, class of 2017, senior thesis: Will developed and proved a technique to reduce the amount of simulation time necessary to extract angular correlation coefficients from GRIFFIN data, an important piece of evidence when assigning spins to excited states of nuclei. He also took the technique one step further and showed that these simulations can be used to relate the desired coefficients to the data algebraically - potentially lighting the way to eliminate the need for simulations in certain cases.

Alexander Abrahams, class of 2017, senior thesis: Alex synthesized and characterized his own ferrofluids. Ferrofluids are magnetic liquids that are made of nanometer sized magnets, surrounded by a chemical (the surfactant) that helps the tiny magnets not stick together, and immersed in a carrier fluid. Alex created ferrofluids using the same magnetic material and surfactant, but varied the carrier fluids. He measured how long it took the magnetic particles to fall out of the suspension, as well as the different fluids visosities in and out of a magnetic field.

Beadle Beadle, class of 2019, 2017 summer research: Beadle's summer research focused on a measurement of the half-life of 47K, which will be included in an upcoming publication detailing the structure of 47Ca.

Student Research at TRIUMF

As a postdoc at TRIUMF, a large portion of my time was spent mentoring graduate students and co-advising undergraduate co-op students. I worked daily with two PhD students, one from UBC and one from Simon Fraser University as well as a Master's student from the University of Surrey. I served as a mentor or co-advisor for three Canadian co-op students, undergraduates who worked with us full-time for 4 or 8 months at a time (similar to an REU student). Detailed descriptions of my work with each student are included below. Letters of evaluation from some students can be seen by clicking on that student's name.

Jennifer Pore, Simon Fraser University PhD student, January 2015-July 2016: Jenn and I analyzed data sets that were taken in close succession. We worked closely together and aim for an optimum balance of independent analyses to confirm each other's results and share problems and solutions so work doesn't have to be duplicated. Jenn is now a postdoc at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory.

Nikita Bernier, University of British Columbia PhD student, January 2015-July 2016: Nikita has been analyzing two distinct data sets. One data set came from the first experimental run at GRIFFIN and aimed to confirm measurements from a previous experiment at TRIUMF while the second looked at the decays of five different cadmium isotopes. I met regularly with Nikita and her advisors to direct and supervise her analysis path and worked with her on a day-to-day basis, serving as a sounding board for ideas and guide for implementation of larger-scale analysis tasks.

Lisa Morrison, University of Surrey Master's student, "Gamma-Gamma Angular Correlations with the GRIFFIN Spectrometer", September-December 2014: Lisa's thesis compared the simulated angular correlation spectra with the first experimental angular correlation spectra to come out of GRIFFIN. I worked with her to collect and process the data from GRIFFIN. I provided timely feedback during the writing of her thesis to ensure that she understood the physics and made solid comparisons between simulation and data.

Dan Southall, University of Waterloo co-op student, "Optimization of Signal Processing for GRIFFIN", September 2014-April 2015, May 2016-July2016: Dan worked with GRIFFIN for 8 months and did extensive computational analysis to optimize our signal processing parameters for different detectors. He also performed tests to locate the source of observed asymmetric absorption in our source measurements and to correct this asymmetry after the fact. I worked closely with Dan during his time at TRIUMF, providing context for his work, guiding his day-to-day activities, and instigating his analysis of the asymmetric source absorption. During his second time with the group, Dan did excellent work of a proof-of-concept for the use of GRIFFIN as a polarimeter. He is now a PhD graduate student at the University of Chicago.

Liz MacConnachie, Queen's University summer student, May-August 2015: Liz worked with the GRIFFIN Collaboration during the summer of 2015. She participated in supporting both the device and the experiments that we ran during the summer. She analyzed data to show the efficacy of our detectors at low thresholds and wrote a page to monitor the resolution of our detector in real time. I coordinated and guided Liz's work throughout the summer.

Elizabeth Pieters, Simon Fraser University co-op student, January 2016-May 2016: Elizabeth's work with GRIFFIN involved optimization of signal processing parameters for individual crystals, the creation and testing of a monitoring system for the temperature of our detectors, and creating a detailed description of the background seen at GRIFFIN. I served as a co-advisor for Elizabeth, setting her large-scale goals and guiding day-to-day work.

In addition to these students, I regularly collaborated with other graduate students at the University of Guelph, both in person during our experiments and remotely via regular analysis meetings and email exchanges.

Student Research with MoNA

As a graduate student, I worked with the MoNA Collaboration, which is a collaboration formed by primarily undergraduate-serving institutions. During this time, I regularly worked with a large range of undergraduate students: students who had worked with our collaboration for three years and those who were only working with us for three days. I trained undergraduates to run our experiment, calibrate the detectors, and perform basic analysis tasks. I encouraged them to take responsibility for the running of the experiment, develop good research habits (such as always documenting things in the lab notebook), and ask questions until they understood both the physics and experimental methods.