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From Jamie Molaro

Spaceward Bound Mojave 2008

I am in Illinois all summer working at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory on a research and development project building a particle detector called a Liquid Argon Time Projection Chamber. The detector will be filled with 15 kilotons of liquid Argon and placed underground in the path of a particle beam from the Fermilab accelerator. The detector is designed to record interactions of subatomic particles called neutrinos. Neutrinos are difficult to study because they are so small (much smaller even than electrons) they rarely interact with other matter. What makes them interesting is that there are three neutrino "flavors," each having a different mass, though a given neutrino can oscillate between flavors, turning from one kind to another and back again. The goal of this particle detector is to learn more about neutrino oscillations.

I have learned a lot here at the lab, both academically and practically. Not only is the environment here very academic and intellectual, with lectures and talks every week, but it is very casual and creative. We do science for the sake of doing science and learn for the sake of learning, which makes work here interesting and fun. We spend a lot of time exercising intellect and experience to design, test, build or problem solve for different stages of the detector. I have also learned a lot about how research is done, how a project progresses and how scientists work with each other. I have come to love research and look forward to doing more throughout my future!

You guys are getting ready for Lassen right? I hope all goes well with that. I am coming back to the Bay Area in August and will be around for a year studying for graduate exams and applying to schools. I was wondering if there might be any sort of projects you guys would want some student help on, be they related to research or education or something else. I would love to work on research with someone or work with children at events or in classrooms. I figured if I am going to be around for a year, I would really like to get some valuable experience and contribute my time and effort to something worthwhile. It might not be something you could point me to or get me involved in, but I thought it couldn't hurt to express my interest! Back to work now!

-Jamie Molaro

 

 
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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: April 2007
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe
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