Physics majors take top research prize

Grove City College Physics majors’ nanotechnology research took the top prize at a recent American Physical Society (APS) conference.

Zachary Johnson ‘19, Connor Murphy ’19 and Michael Thompson ’20 won first place in the undergraduate research poster competition at the 117th Topical Symposium of the New York State section of the APS. The poster – “Fabrication of Reproducible Micro-Bridge Structures” – detailed their research project at Grove City College. The men also collected a cash prize.

In victory, all three were quick to credit each other and their advisor Dr. Jeffrey P. Wolinski, professor of Physics, for their success. “Science cannot be done alone and everyone’s work is valuable,” Johnson said.

“Getting recognition like this gives me encouragement that the research I do is not only fascinating for its own sake but is also something that other people can see as having value, something with the potential to produce new or useful discoveries,” Murphy said.

Over 30 posters were submitted for the conference Nov. 10 and 11 at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., by researchers primarily from schools in New York state, but as far away as Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology and the Netherlands Institute for Space Research. 

Seth Byard ’19 – with assistance from Ryan King ’20, who was unable to attend the meeting – presented a poster describing studies on “Microscale Pattern Fabrication on PTFE Using a Focused Electron Beam.” 

At the conference, students also had the opportunity to hear from the winner of the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics, Dr. Rainer Weiss of MIT, who received the award for his central role in the 2016 discovery of gravitational waves.

Physics majors take top research prize

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