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Local teen honored for Laser Lab research

January 27, 2020
Simon NarangSimon Narang, a senior from Pittsford Sutherland High School, was recently named a Scholar in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search, for a research project he carried out at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics. (University of Rochester photo / Eugene Kowaluk)

A local teen has been designated as a Scholar in the prestigious Regeneron Science Talent Search (formerly the Intel Science Talent Search) for a research project he carried out last summer at the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). Senior Simon Narang of Pittsford Sutherland High School is among the 300 Scholars nationwide chosen from nearly 2,000 who entered the competition.

Narang will be awarded $2,000 and his school will receive $2,000 to support its science, math, and engineering programs.

“Our community is home to incredibly talented and innovative students like Simon Narang who are doing groundbreaking work in STEM fields,” said New York Congressman Joe Morelle. “Congratulations to Mr. Narang on this outstanding recognition, and thank you to the University of Rochester’s Laboratory for Laser Energetics for facilitating such unique educational opportunities. I look forward to seeing all that Mr. Narang will accomplish in the future.”

Narang worked on an x-ray method to measure the volume of liquid DT (deuterium-tritium) contained in a fusion fuel capsule and predict the final thickness of the uniform solid layer formed after the liquid is cooled. He developed a computer program that allows the capsule to be viewed from any angle with respect to gravity, as required for the new cryogenic-target fill-tube system under development for LLE’s 60-beam OMEGA laser.

One of the main goals of the LLE is to provide researchers with the tools to study the conditions necessary to create and sustain fusion. Involving young adults in state-of-the-art science, however, is another important goal. LLE started its Summer High School Research Program in 1989 and has had 391 participants to date.

“Our program provides a unique educational opportunity for talented high-school students,” says Stephen Craxton, LLE physicist and high-school program director. “They’re amazingly motivated, and it’s exciting to see them recognized as among the best in the nation.”

Students working at the laboratory have made up the large majority of Rochester-area Science Talent Search Scholars honored during the past three decades. A total of 39 students from the LLE program have now become Scholars.

Application materials for LLE’s summer program are sent to area high schools and placed on the LLE website in mid-January or can be obtained directly by calling Jean Steve at (585) 275-5286. For more information about the program itself, please contact Craxton at (585) 275-5467.

The LLE was established at the University in 1970 and is the largest US Department of Energy (DOE) university-based research program in the nation. As a nationally funded facility, supported by the National Nuclear Security Administration as part of its Stockpile Stewardship Program, the LLE conducts implosion and other experiments to explore fusion as a future source of energy, to develop new laser and materials technologies, and to conduct research and develop technology related to high-energy-density phenomena. The LLE is also annually supported by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). In addition to its vital roles in various areas of scientific research, the LLE plays an important part in educating the next generation of scientists and engineers; because it is located on a university campus, undergraduates and area high school students are able to benefit from its resources and programs.

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Category: Science & Technology