Top News

GRENFELL MATTERS: A summer spent with science

Mallory Snow
Mallory Snow - Contributed

The excellence of Canadian subatomic physics is recognized internationally, and subatomic physics research is well-funded across the country.

This summer I received two research scholarships to study theoretical subatomic physics — one from the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics (CINP) and another from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

I am currently doing a double major at Grenfell in computational mathematics and physics; a good background in mathematics was very helpful in my research in theoretical physics. I worked with another NSERC grant holder, Nick O’Niell, who is also majoring in computational mathematics and physics here at Grenfell.

Both of us worked with the help and encouragement of our supervisors Dr. Aleksandrs Aleksejevs and Dr. Svetlana Barkanova, who are both physics professors at Grenfell.

Our research goals this summer were mainly centred around the new accelerator experiment, MOLLER, planned at the Jefferson Laboratory in Virginia, as well as other phenomena in subatomic and hadronic physics. We studied parity violation, sterile neutrinos, the proton radius puzzle, and theories that go beyond our current main model called the Standard Model of Particle Physics.

In addition to these other smaller research topics, Nick and I became very familiar with the MOLLER experiment throughout the summer.

This new generation experiment proposes to measure the parity-violating asymmetry (APV) in the scattering of polarized electrons off unpolarized electrons, using the upgraded 11 GeV beam at Jefferson Laboratory (JLab) with incredible precision.

This proposed experiment is looking for a consistency (or lack of consistency) in experimentally found parameters with the theoretically predicted parameter values which can be used to search for indications of Beyond the Standard Model (BSM) physics.

Nick and I had the honour of assisting in this experiment’s development by creating look-up tables here at Grenfell from the precise electroweak radiative corrections evaluated by Dr. Aleksejevs and Dr. Barkanova by adopting these values to the MOLLER experiment specifically. These tables were then sent to the JLab where they are used in the progression of the MOLLER experiment.

Physics is a field of science with many unanswered questions and the search for new physics and theories beyond the Standard Model is one of the most researched topics in science right now. The fact that Nick and I, two undergraduate students at such a small university campus, were given the opportunity to not only research these topics but also contribute to a new-generation experiment says a lot about the physics program at Grenfell.

Physics is an amazing program to get involved in anywhere, but especially here at Grenfell, where the program offers in-depth training in subatomic physics and astrophysics.

The small class sizes, supportive and approachable professors and, of course, the ground-breaking research opportunities, make Grenfell’s physics program especially remarkable.

Mallory Snow a student in the school of science and the environment at Grenfell Campus.

Recent Stories