Nuclear Group Students Participate in Recent Experiment

Gabe Balk with the Barrel detector prior to installation.

Gabe Balk and TJ Mann joined an international collaboration to study r-process nuclei (141, 143, and 145Cs) at Argonne National Laboratories with the CARIBU system. The Nuclear Group contributed two key pieces to the experiment: the tape target drive and control system and the barrel-shaped beta detector which has fibers to direct detector light out of SuN to photomultiplier tubes.

TJ Mann working with Dr. Daniel Muecher to seal the vacuum chamber after the installation of the Barrel detector and tape target into SuN.

Another Student Publication

Alex Medema (Class of 2020), now in a PhD program at University of Colorado, Boulder

Alex’s paper is the 5th peer-reviewed publication with a physics major as the lead author. Influence of columnar defects on magnetic relaxation of microwave nonlinearity in superconducting YBCO resonator devices, Physica C: Superconductivity and its Applications 583, 1353849 (2021).  DOI:

Astrophysics, Summer 2021

The astrophysics research group is hard at work developing compact analytics that describe Compton scattering in strong magnetic fields in the magnetospheres of a group of highly magnetized neutron stars known as magnetars.  Such strong magnetic fields are not accessible in terrestrial laboratory experiments and therefore provide unique environments for testing the physics of quantum electrodynamics.

Here Kam is hard at work making sure that the spin dependence of the algebra correctly includes the spin dependence of the electron as it is either aligned parallel or anti-parallel to the external magnetic field.  Though the initial state is anti aligned, there are two states to keep track of their spins – an intermediate virtual state and a final state after the scattering takes place.

Kameron Wilcox, physics major (class of 2021)

William is mainly programming in C++ developing efficient algorithms to integrate complicated expressions associated with the lifetime of excited Landau states of electrons in strong magnetic fields.

William Vance, physics major (class of 2024)
Jonathan McCrackin, chemistry major (class of 2021)

Jon is helping with algebraic gymnastics.  He joined out group with the challenge to improve his math skills.  He is making significant contributions.

Astronaut Mice

On June 15, 2021 at 4:07 pm, the first mouse was placed near the end of Hope College’s Tandem Van de Graaf particle accelerator to receive a small dose of neutron radiation amounting to ~1/15th of a daily radiation dose if the mice were on the Moon. To study the effects of low dose radiation, Neuroscience students Parker and Corine will look for behavioral changes of mice over time. Three minutes later at 4:10 pm, Forest operates the accelerator remotely and starts the simulated space radiation. The space radiation is created in a reaction involving the 3.4 MeV proton beam and a Lithium Fluoride crystal.

Corine LaFrenier ’22 and Parker Friend ’23 stand next to the Hope College Particle Accelerator end station. The mouse is in the blue bottle just under Parker’s right hand.
Corine LaFrenier ’22 and Parker Friend ’24 stand behind Forest Rulison ’21 as he turns on the ion beam of Hope College’s Particle Accelerator.

Class of 2020 Physics Majors Have a Reunion

With the global COVID-29 pandemic having denied the Class of 2020 its Commencement and other year-end milestones, Hope blended elements of the ceremony and a reunion in an on-campus celebration for members of the class on Saturday, May 22. Physics Alumni attending the celebration included Alex Medema – 2nd from the left – who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado – Boulder, Scott Joffree – 4th from the left – who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Physics at Clemson University, and Cole Persch – 5th from the left – who is pursuing a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science at the University of Colorado – Boulder.