Students Meet Nobel Laureate at NASA

It’s not every day that you get to meet a Nobel Laureate. But three physics students working with Dr. Peter Gonthier this summer did just that!

Made Rabitoy, Noah Giddings, and Meredith Bomers with John Mather.

While working at NASA Goddard this summer at the start of the Department’s Summer Research Program, Astrophysics Group research students Madeleine Rabitoy, Noah Giddings, and Meredith Bomers had a chance to meet John Mather, senior astrophysicst at Goddard, and 2006 Physics Nobel Laureate.

Made is a sophomore, and Noah and Meredith are first year students this fall. All three were in their first summer working for Dr. Gonthier.

Summer Research Program 2018

2017 Summer Group

Apply online at

Choose from a range of externally funded research projects:

AC Spectroscopy Material Characterization
Advanced Functional Materials
Interdisciplinary Nuclear Science
Nanoscale Materials for Energy Storage
Nuclear Physics
Plasma Spectroscopy in Microgaps

The dates for the 2018 Research Program are May 21 to July 27, unless otherwise indicated.

Students selected for the Summer Research Program will receive a stipend of $5300 for 10 weeks. Housing assistance is also provided at 50% if the student lives on campus.

Incoming Hope College students hired for the Bridge Research Program will be paid at a reduced rate for a duration to be arranged. Students interested in Bridge Research should contact the Department at

Applications will be reviewed starting February 12, 2018. We do not anticipate offering any positions to students from other institutions in 2018.

For more information contact us at

In recent years, funding for the Summer Research Program has been provided by:

National Science Foundation
Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Department of Energy
National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Michigan Space Grant Consortium
Hope College Jacob E. Nyenhuis Faculty Development Fund
Hope College Dean for Natural and Applied Sciences
Hope College Bibart Research Fund
Hope College Department of Physics
Hope College Department of Physics Dr. Harry and Jeannette Frissel Research Fund
Hope College Department of Physics L.T. Guess Research Fund

Higher Education Research Experiences (HERE) Program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL)

Opportunities for qualified students, alumni, and faculty to participate in hands-on research in a real-world setting

  • Experience the thrill of research or technical projects at a cutting edge national laboratory and camaraderie with prestigious scientists, researchers and engineers
  • Meet and collaborate with the people who are world and international experts in fields that interest you
  • Contribute to the U.S. technical prowess that will enhance living standards and set the nation at the top of a global community
  • Participate in developing solutions to pressing scientific and technical problems
  • Highlights of the program

    • Open to Entering College Freshmen, Undergraduates, Recent Associate/Bachelor’s Graduates, Current Graduate Students, and Faculty – Open to all majors; appointments are primarily for Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) majors but other opportunities may be available for technical projects
    • Applications are accepted year-round
    • Appointments can start and end at any time during the year based on your availability and the requirements of the ORNL mentor/project
    • Full-time and part-time appointments
    • Minimum GPA – 2.5/4.0
    • U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident (LPR)
    • Stipend based on academic status
    • Limited travel and housing allowances (if eligible)
    • Professional development activities

    Visit or contact ORNL Science Education Programs at for more information!

“Talking” Electrons: Does It Happen In Collisions Of Ions With Atoms?

John Tanis PhD, Physics Department, Western Michigan University
Friday, Nov 3 at 3 pm

Can electrons “talk” with one another when an ion collides with a target atom? In general, the answer is yes, but it has been difficult to do experiments that isolate the interaction, or “talking”, between electrons. We are conducting an experiment involving the collision of a fully-stripped ion with a neutral gas target atom. In the collision we look for the transfer of two electrons from the target to the projectile accompanied by the simultaneous emission of a single photon. The electrons must “talk” with one another for this to occur. The process can be treated as the inverse of double photoionization by a single photon, in which the electrons must also “talk” with each other in a similar way. Our experiment and results to date will be discussed.