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In Photos

Future physicists experience research firsthand during internship at Rochester

East High School student Six Williams focuses a camera to take emission measurements on a spectrometer. (Photo credit: Imani West-Abdallah)

The University of Rochester’s Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP) hosted an internship program this summer for seven high school students from area schools, including East High School and Benjamin Franklin High School in the Rochester City School District. The students spent five weeks on campus as part of a program that offers underrepresented high school students opportunities to learn about high-energy-density physics, perform lab experiments, and work on projects with Rochester physics and astronomy graduate students. The experience culminated with the students presenting research posters.

The summer outreach program, which is offered annually, was organized and led by graduate students Hannah Hasson and Imani West-Abdallah, who are part of the Pierre Gourdain Research Group. The high school students spent time with Hasson and West-Abdallah in Gourdain’s lab as well as alongside PhD students Rayleigh Parker and Mihirangi Medahinne Gedar in Machiel Blok’s lab group.

CMAP is a National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center hosted at the University of Rochester in collaboration with researchers at MIT, Princeton University, the Universities of California at Berkeley and Davis, the University of Buffalo, and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Research at the center focuses on understanding the physics and astrophysical implications of matter under pressures so high that the structure of individual atoms is disrupted.

Triptych featuring three masked students at a lab workbench; a graduate student surrounded by liquid nitrogen smoke; and a masked high school student awash in red light as she adjusts lasers and lenses.
(Photo credits: left and center, Imani West-Abdallah; right, Hannah Hasson)

From left to right:

High school students from Pittsford Mendon High School (l to r) Grace Wu, Vinay Pendri, and Jake Burdick fine-tune optics with an alignment laser and measure the beam height of the laser to make sure it stays consistent.

Rochester physics and astronomy PhD student Rayleigh Parker demonstrates how to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen.

Pittsford Mendon High School student Grace Wu uses an alignment laser to align optics in order to figure out where the lens will focus light into a spark.

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