Feature News

U.S. Department of Energy award gives students chance to study at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

May 08, 2018

North Central College’s Paul Bloom, associate professor of physics, has been awarded funds from the U.S. Department of Energy Visiting Faculty program.

The nationally competitive award combined with student stipend support from the College will allow Bloom to take six physics students to perform cutting-edge research this summer at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill.

The program is designed to fund research at national labs by faculty at small colleges not typically involved in national lab research.

“I’m excited for students to see the difference between learning about science and actually doing science,” said Bloom. “This is something that no classroom experience, no contrived laboratory experience can do.”

Fermilab is the premier laboratory for studying particle physics in the United States, and draws thousands of scientists from around the world to study the smallest building blocks of matter.

“This specific project is related to the g-2 experiment, which aims to make a high-precision measurement of the magnetic properties of the subatomic muon,” said Bloom. “This could reveal the presence of particles or forces of which we are presently unaware.”

For students, using advanced technology in a professional environment will be an invaluable experience.

“They’ll pick up practical skills related to instrumentation, computing and data analysis as well as practice communicating effectively with the scientific community,” said Bloom. “Only in the doing of research—fraught with failure, confusion and occasional success—can one learn about what science is really about.”

Visit the Physics program page to learn about more internship opportunities and read stories from current and past students.