Postings created for publication in the Physics Department web page news feed.

Professor Nora Berrah Elected to National Academy of Sciences

Sarah Al-Arshani, UConn Today, May 3, 2024

Norah Berrah, professor of physics, standing in front of science equipment in her lab.
Nora Berrah, professor of physics, in her lab at the Gant Complex on May 2, 2024. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)

UConn physics professor Nora Berrah has been elected as a member of the National Academy of Science (NAS), becoming the fifth member from the UConn community to join the selective national society. 

The Society was established in 1863 by an Act of Congress and signed into law by former President Abraham Lincoln as a private, nongovernmental institution.  

Members are elected “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research,” and the academy serves as an advisory board for the nation on issues relating to science and technology.  

As a member of NAS, Berrah joins professor of economics Kathy Segerson, Dr. Cato Laurencin, Chief Executive Officer of The Connecticut Convergence Institute for Translation in Regenerative Engineering at UConn Health; Laurinda Jaffe, department chair and professor of cell biology at UConn Health; Dr. Se-Jin Lee, Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of Genetics and Genome Sciences at UConn Health; Mary Jane Osborn, professor of microbiology who died in 2019; and Henry N. Andrews, professor of botany who died in 2002.

“Membership in the NAS is one of the highest honors that can be given to a scientist,” says Ofer Harel, Interim Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “It is a recognition by peers and the academy of outstanding research achievements, and Nora absolutely falls into that category.” 

Current academy members must nominate and vote for new members to join the academy, with no more than 120 members being elected each year. 

“It’s just an unbelievably great honor,” says Berrah. “I feel very grateful for all the National Academy members who voted for me and for being elected.” 

Berrah, the former department head of physics from 2014 to 2018, was elected in recognition of her research that focuses on ultrafast physical and chemical processes in quantum systems. 

Berrah’s research has wide ranging impact

In her lab on campus, as well as at the Linac Coherent Light Source Free Electron Laser at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in Stanford, California, Berrah conducts “time resolved, photo-induced experiments to understand ultrafast fundamental mechanisms such as charge transfer, energy transfer, and proton transfer.” 

The experiments measure super-fast reactions up to the femtosecond, or one quadrillionth of a second, as well as to the attosecond, or one quintillionth of a second which has important impacts on other scientific fields.  

“We want to understand these processes, and ultimately we want to control them to achieve desired outcomes,” says Berrah. “I and my research group measure manifestations of quantum mechanics — using ultrafast lasers at the femtosecond and attosecond timescale to test fundamentals of quantum mechanics. Our research has a broad impact on chemistry, biology, material science, and environmental science.”  

Berrah was also previously elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She earned a Davisson-Germer award from the American Physical Society and is a fellow of the American Physical Society. 

 She has also been an advocate for increasing the participation and retention of women in physics.  

 “I realized as an undergraduate student that there were just very few women, whether they’re undergraduate or graduate students, and it doesn’t make sense to me, because we all have a brain, and if we have an interest in physics, then we should pursue it,” says Berrah. “It’s a man-dominated field. And way back, women were not welcomed in physics.” 

Over the course of her career, Berrah has worked to help women feel less isolated in the field, including serving as the chair of APS’ Committee on the Status of Women in Physics. 

Berrah is currently chairing a committee in the physics department to organize a conference for undergraduate women and gender minorities in physics, that she says will occur January 24-26, 2025. She says it is an opportunity to help undergraduate women network and peer mentor with each other, so they don’t feel isolated, since they are often the only women in their classrooms.  

 The conference is a chance for women to learn together and become comfortable in the field, Berrah says.  

 “It’s important to mentor the next generation of women physicists and increase significantly their number,” says Berrah. 

2024 Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society Celebration!

Sigma Pi Sigma induction ceremony 2024

2024 Sigma Pi Sigma Honors Society Inductees:

  • Daniel Baker
  • Rachel Cleveland
  • Jack Conley
  • Grace Farrell
  • William Livesayand
  • Patrick McGovern
  • Kabir Sewrathan
  • Teddy Smith
  • Jefferson Tang
  • Thomas Tarutin
  • Nicholas Thiel-Hudson
  • Joseph Van Vlack
  • Elic Wu

The initiation ceremony was held on Friday, April 26th. The event began at 3:00 with a pre-colloquium reception, followed by the colloquium at 4:00 in GW-002 and by the banquet and initiation ceremony at 6:00.

UConn’s Old Planetarium Gets a New Upgrade

After an extensive collaborative effort and restoration process by UConn faculty, facilities staff, and students, Connecticut’s oldest planetarium will soon be back in action.

Once used for education and outreach for UConn faculty, students, and community members, the planetarium fell into disuse in the last several years, but Department of Physics Assistant Professor-in-Residence Matt Guthrie has been working hard with skilled facilities staff, including CLAS Facilities Team Leader Brett DeMarchi, to bring this piece of UConn history back into working order.

The planetarium was built in 1954 and has served since as a hub for sharing astronomical information with UConn and surrounding communities. The late Professor Cynthia Peterson was the planetarium’s curator for many years; it was her favorite place on campus, and she regularly shared her enthusiasm for astronomy by hosting events there.

The original A1 Spitz Star and Planet Projector, used for over 50 years for teaching others about the wonders of the universe, is now on display in the Gant Science Complex along with a plaque in dedication to the planetarium’s long-time curator, Professor Cynthia Peterson.
The original A1 Spitz Star and Planet Projector, used for over 50 years for teaching others about the wonders of the universe, is now on display in the Gant Science Complex along with a plaque in dedication to the planetarium’s long-time curator, Professor Cynthia Peterson. (Contributed photo)

In 2022, when Guthrie first toured the facility with Physics Department Academic Assistant Dave Perry, they were not sure what they would find and felt it was a shame the facility had fallen into disrepair. With encouragement from fellow physics faculty members Jon Trump and then Department Head Professor Barry Wells, Guthrie decided to take the project on, and together with Perry, DeMarchi, and others, they have been slowly but surely bringing the venerable planetarium back into campaigning shape.

“When I first toured the facility, it was still my first year at UConn full-time and I was looking for a project to dedicate all my free time to,” Guthrie says. “From the start, as I was doing research about it and learning more about Cynthia, I felt a sense of responsibility that if I was going to fill at least part of the hole that was left after she retired, we needed the proper recognition for everything that she had done, especially with the planetarium.”

The first time DeMarchi walked into the dome, he says it was like stepping back in time:

“It was almost pitch black and the antique projector was covered in dust — a unique piece of history to marvel at from a time when technology was much simpler!”

DeMarchi says a previous project study with a larger scope had a budget that was unfeasible, but he had some ideas to help keep the costs down while still freshening up the facility without major renovations to the existing structure. A new proposal was submitted to CLAS, accepted, and with funding, the project moved ahead.

Guthrie wanted to be sure the history of the planetarium was preserved, so, in the process of clearing out the facility to make way for new equipment, the team kept whatever they could for posterity, including the original A1 Spitz star and planet projector.

“We put the old projector on display in the physics department to make sure that we are not rewriting the history of the planetarium. That has been the guiding light for how I approach this project. We did buy a new projector, but we’re not changing the internal structure of the building,” says Guthrie.

Shortly after starting this project, Guthrie also started working on the UConn Observatory and both projects have kept him very busy, but he says he is glad to be able to dedicate the time to get these resources back up and running for the department and community.

Guthrie also has student help, including Danya Alboslani (CLAS) ’24 who has helped with both renovation processes.

Alboslani first got involved as a sophomore wanting to learn more about the planetarium and observatory that no one seemed to have details about,

“I wanted to get more information about the planetarium on campus. UConn is a great school with astronomy professors who do amazing work, so if we have a planetarium and an alleged observatory, why don’t we use them?”

Alboslani connected with Guthrie and says working with him on the restoration projects has been amazing,

“Ever since I first contacted him, he’s made me feel very involved in the entire process. Professor Guthrie went out of his way to keep me updated on everything. I helped to write the memorial plaque about Professor Peterson — also a woman in STEM and UConn’s first women physics professor.”

Sealing up the dome and making the facility waterproof once again took a lot of effort, says DiMarchi. Thanks to the extensive collaborative efforts with UConn Facilities Operations, the planetarium is almost ready for action again.
Sealing up the dome and making the facility waterproof once again took a lot of effort, says DiMarchi. Thanks to the extensive collaborative efforts with UConn Facilities Operations, the planetarium is almost ready for action again. (Contributed photo)

A tricky issue was the planetarium’s 16-foot dome, which had to be resealed, but once that was resolved, Guthrie said the interior work could go ahead. Though it has been a slow process, Guthrie says the end is in sight. The internal painting was completed in January and the external painting will be done as soon as the weather warms up.

DeMarchi says the team is very appreciative of the extensive collaborative efforts from UConn Facilities Operations.

“Every Facilities Shop Supervisor that I contacted was on board to assist. Special thanks to Nate Bedard of Interior Renewals for his help with project coordination and flooring. Chris Gisleson and his team put a lot of effort into sealing the exterior of the dome. Jon Cooke researched the correct reflective paint needed for the interior of the dome and his team painted the structure. Jennifer Peshka provided testing and compliance guidance throughout. CLAS Shared Services student workers Cole Shillington (CLAS) ‘24 and Alex Gervais (CAHNR) ‘24 were a big help with various tasks that came up.”

Though they don’t have a firm launch date yet, Guthrie hopes they will be up and running by summertime. The team plans to install carpeting and purchase new chairs soon. Guthrie says they removed the old projector platform, which was about six feet in diameter, and Perry and Senior Machine Shop Engineer Machinist Ray Celmer are working to make a sturdy stand that will have a small 18-inch footprint which will allow for more flexibility and accessibility in the space.

“Newer planetariums are structuring their seating charts as if there is a front of the building, and that’s where they project the main action of the show, where other things can happen around you,” Guthrie says. “We have the possibility of moving around to make it so that there is a front of the room. That depends on what we want to do and how the building evolves to meet our needs. I wanted to leave that possibility open.”

When deciding on what new projector to order, Guthrie says he chose a company that specializes in portable planetarium projectors, because other than being the oldest planetarium in the state, this is likely the state’s smallest permanent planetarium.

The planetarium’s new projector comes equipped with around 100,000 premade shows and makes it easy for users to design their own shows, so physics students and faculty can share their research and produce educational content for classes or outreach events.
The planetarium’s new projector comes equipped with around 100,000 premade shows and makes it easy for users to design their own shows, so physics students and faculty can share their research and produce educational content for classes or outreach events. (Contributed photo)

“I went with this projector model because it’s perfect for the size of our dome. The new projector gives users access to around 100,000 pre-made shows, and a bonus is the software is easy to learn so users can write their own planetarium shows. What I’m hoping is that interested astronomy students will be able to lead outreach events with shows they have designed themselves and if they want to get involved it will be lower stress to learn how to use the projector within this cool piece of UConn history.”

Physics Ph.D. student Kelcey Davis is eager for the facility to open and says the astrophysics graduate students and faculty are all very passionate about what they do and are excited this project will provide the opportunity to engage with the public.

“I saw the projector for the first time just a few days ago and have driven it once. It’s operated by a video game controller, so it helps to be a nerd!” says Davis.

Davis works with the James Webb Space Telescope and hopes to develop shows that break down the big discoveries the telescope has made since first light and make them digestible to a broader audience.

“I’m excited to showcase some of the research I and others in the department are doing. NASA has come out with some cool visuals, and I’d love to share them. A great example is the flight to ‘Maisie’s galaxy,’ the most distant galaxy in the Cosmic Evolution Early Release Science Survey (CEERS), which I work on. The light from this galaxy traveled 13.4 billion light years to reach us.”

Guthrie also has ideas for shows: for example, a simulated rocket launch. The projector can show the flight through clouds and the atmosphere and once the sound system is installed, viewers can feel what it’s like to blast off. Guthrie says he is planning to hold at least one show per week once everything is up and running, as long as the demand is there.

“What I once thought I wouldn’t be able to see before I graduate is now slowly becoming a reality,” says Alboslani. “With Professor Guthrie leading the restoration of the planetarium and observatory, I know that he will make an impact on the community and the university for years to come.”

Guthrie is excited for the future with both the observatory and the planetarium back in action.

“The observatory has incredible potential for completely changing the way that we do astrophysics research at UConn and the planetarium is completely different, but also super exciting. I can’t wait to see what this building is capable of.”

The project was made possible thanks to funding from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Planetarium schedule will be updated with events once the facility is up and running. You can also keep up with events via Instagram.


Solar Eclipse Viewing Event: 2-4:30pm Mon Apr 8 on Horsebarn Hill

UConn faculty and students will host a community event to view the solar eclipse at 2:00-4:30pm this Monday, April 8, on Horsebarn Hill (behind the Dairy Bar). Here in Storrs we’ll observe a maximum occultation of 92% at 3:28pm. This is a very exciting and special opportunity, since the next time that our location will experience such an eclipse is not until 2079(!).

Details about the event are in the flyer embedded below, and also on the UConn Events Calendar. You can also listen to Prof. Jonathan Trump talk more about the solar eclipse on WILI-AM and on NBC CT.

Two physics undergrads among 2024 University Scholars

Two of UConn Physics Department’s undergrads, Rachel Cleveland and Nicholas Thiel-Hudson, have been recently selected as part of the 2024 cohort of UConn University Scholars! These students were selected based on the strength of their proposal. Graduation as a University Scholar recognizes a student’s extraordinary engagement with self-reflective learning and research or creative endeavors.

Rachel Cleveland

Major: Physics
Project Title: Determining the Parameters that Drive the Co-evolution of Black Holes and Galaxies
Committee: Daniel Angles-Alcazar, Physics; Cara Battersby, Physics; Lea Ferreira dos Santos, Physics

Project Summary: Cosmological simulations are incredibly useful tools for astrophysicists. They allow a deeper exploration of celestial phenomena and reveal their intricate workings. In the past, I have observed patterns between black holes and their host galaxies using SIMBA simulations. I now plan to enhance my research by transitioning to the CAMELS simulation. This offers the flexibility to manipulate various cosmological parameters, which brings the promise of uncovering the fundamental drivers behind my previously observed trends. This endeavor will help advance our understanding of the cosmos.

Rachel Cleveland is a junior honors student from Windsor, CT pursuing a major in Physics and a minor in Mathematics and Statistics. She is a McNair Scholar, Presidential Scholar, and Babbidge Scholar at UConn. She plans to attend a PhD program after graduation.

Nicholas Thiel-Hudson

Major: Physics and Music
Project title: Rare-Earth Manganites for CO2 Reduction and Quantum Sensing
Committee: Dr. Menka Jain, Physics; Dr. Peter Schweitzer, Physics; and Dr. Ronald Squibbs, Music

Project Summary: Lanthanum strontium manganite (LSMO) is a solid-state material that exhibits particularly interesting electrical and magnetic properties. This makes LSMO a good candidate for use in advanced technologies, however, it is very difficult to make. This project will investigate novel synthesis methods to fabricate LSMO powders and films for two different applications. Powders will be optimized for use as a selective electrocatalyst in the conversion of carbon dioxide into usable hydrocarbon products. Films will be optimized for use in quantum sensing, which is useful for advanced technologies.

Nicholas Thiel-Hudson, from New Fairfield, CT, is a Presidential Scholar pursuing dual degrees in Physics and Music. In his free time, he enjoys playing the violin and listening to music from around the world. Nicholas is also an avid weightlifter and occasional rock climber.

For the list of all 2024 University Scholars, visit University Scholars Program website.

A Team Effort is Giving New Life to a Classic Observatory

Elaina Hancock – UConn Communications

After nearly 20 years of being out of commission, UConn’s East Road Observatory is back up and running
After nearly 20 years of being out of commission, UConn’s East Road Observatory is back up and running. The observatory will be renamed in a ceremony on October 21st where the team that restored the facility will demonstrate its capabilities. (Contributed photo)

Professor Cynthia Peterson was the first woman on the UConn physics faculty, and over the course of her 49 years at the University, she was known for her enthusiasm and passion for teaching and outreach and was always generous with sharing her knowledge. She was also known for her pursuit of the installation of an observatory j

Less than two weeks after touring the inside of the observatory in January of 2023, the team, including Allen Hall pictured here, began taking apart the old telescope and started working on restoring the facility.
Less than two weeks after touring the inside of the observatory in January of 2023, the team, including Allen Hall (pictured), began taking apart the old telescope and started working on restoring the facility.

ust off campus in Storrs, and in 1970 she and machinist Richard Mindek built the East Road Observatory.

Sadly, after a few decades of use, the observatory eventually fell out of repair and was largely forgotten until recently. A team, including employees, students, researchers, an alum, and an award-winning telescope builder, have breathed new life into this important piece of research equipment and UConn history.

In the fall of 2022, Physics Assistant Professor-in-Residence Matthew Guthrie learned about the observatory and started to wonder about its history.

“When I learned that it was no longer in use, I asked around to see why and how we could get it up and running again. Getting it fixed up was not in my skillset, so I didn’t think too much more about it,” says Guthrie. “Then Allen Hall, a local award-winning telescope designer, emailed our department chair out of the blue in January. He wanted to donate a telescope that he built. We connected and I told him about the derelict observatory, about a week later we were taking it apart.”

Guthrie reflects that the facility was in rough shape, and Hall later admitted he thought it was a lost cause, but they stuck with it. Now, after months of repairs, troubleshooting, and cleaning out critters and junk, the observatory is back in action and will be formally renamed at a ceremony scheduled for Tuesday, October 24th where Guthrie says they plan to demonstrate its upgraded capabilities.

Guthrie says jumping straight into the restoration has been an amazing and collaborative learning experience.

“I’m learning as much as I can from him (Hall), and his mechanical and technical skills are exactly what we needed to get this place restored to its former glory, and given the work and upgrades we’ve already made, they’re even better than the original design.”

All the while, Guthrie has tried to find out as much as he can about the observatory’s history. For instance, there is also an additional cement pad and utility hookups that were not previously used, and there are hopes that the facility can be expanded in the future to include a classroom, says Guthrie.

An alum who worked in the dome as a student and has also helped with the restoration effort, Dennis Perlot ’82 (ENG), saw the logbook and remembered the last, ominous entry dating from 2009 which read: “Dome stuck, mount frozen.” Perlot says the now-lost logbook also contained entries about asteroids, comets, and other discoveries.

Here Guthrie is working on reassembling the telescope. He says, “My graduate and postdoc work was mostly theory-based, so being back in a place where I can literally get my hands dirty again makes me happy, and seeing the results of our labor has been rewarding.”
Here Guthrie is working on reassembling the telescope. He says, “My graduate and postdoc work was mostly theory-based, so being back in a place where I can literally get my hands dirty again makes me happy, and seeing the results of our labor has been rewarding.” (Contributed photo)

Other challenges have grown up around the observatory, says Guthrie, because when it was built, the site was likely in the middle of an empty field. Decades later, the field now hosts a patch of trees and agricultural research fields.

Guthrie says the agricultural research farm staff, including Farm Manager Travis Clark, has been very supportive in helping to remove some of the trees when they can. Though people working on the farm have wondered what the strange building was for a while, now it presents an opportunity for new collaborations. Guthrie says one plan is to plant a “moon garden” around the building with night-blooming flowers.

“Getting the facility back up and running has been an amazing and rewarding experience. This will be a force for good in the department and at the university,” says Guthrie. “Our department has big-shot astrophysicists who work on JWST and Hubble. They like their telescopes to be in space, but having a telescope here is a powerful thing.”

UConn researchers have access to a network of telescopes around the world but time on the scopes requires fees after submitting proposals justifying the need for research time on the scopes. Now, Guthrie says students and researchers can get some hands-on experience with an earth-bound scope right here in Storrs.

“There’s nothing more fun than going through the theory in class and then seeing what it looks like with your own eyes and making that connection. That’s one of my basic philosophies of being a teacher, you can do all the theory that you want, and you probably can be pretty good at it. But if you can’t apply it, and see what that theory does in real applications, there’s no point. Things like this observatory are great tools for that building perspective.”

The team repaired, cleaned, and upgraded the observatory and it is better than before.
The team repaired, cleaned, and upgraded the observatory and it is better than before.

Upgrades to the facility include GPS for tracking the stars, enabling different kinds of research the observatory was not capable of previously, and Guthrie hopes to set up the system so it can be controlled remotely.

“With tracking, the scope rotates just a little bit at a constant rate to track along with the motion of the stars and that lets us do real science because you must look at something for a long time to really study it. One of the things that we’re excited to do is exoplanet studies where you need to take a few hours of exposure to accurately measure how much light you’re getting from the star so that any variability in that light you can attribute to a planet passing between us and the star. Doing that requires accurate tracking.”

At sunset on October 24th, following the short opening and renaming ceremony, Guthrie says they will fire up the new 16-inch telescope for an exploration of deep sky objects, planets, and (if visibility allows), the Apollo 15 landing site.

Physics Celebrates 51’st Annual Ascent of Mount Monadnock

On October 14, 2023 40-50 members and friends of the UConn Physics department took part in the 51’st annual ascent up Mount Monadnock, near Jaffrey, New Hampshire. After the hike, the then-hungry hikers descended to the campground near Gilson Pond and enjoyed some well-earned refreshments, including burgers, hot dogs, and more sausages than anyone could eat. News of the group’s cheer “Let’s Go, Physics” from the summit is expected soon to be trending on youtube. Rumors are circulating that it may have been heard as far as Boston and Storrs.

UConn Physics annual climb of Mount Monadnock, taken October 14, 2023
UConn Physics Department members rest after ascent of Mount Monadnock near Jaffrey, NH 14-Oct-2023

Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Gérard Mourou, Katzenstein Distinguished Lecturer

The University of Connecticut, Department of Physics, is proud to announce that on October 20, 2023, Gérard Mourou, professor and member of Haut Collège at the École Polytechnique and A. D. Moore Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at the University of Michigan and 2018 Nobel Prize winner, will be presenting the 25th Distinguished Katzenstein Lecture.

For the details of the lecture, see Physics Events Calendar

Gérard Mourou received his undergraduate education at the University of Grenoble (1967) and his Ph.D. from University Paris VI in 1973. He has made numerous contributions to the field of ultrafast lasers, high-speed electronics, and medicine. But, his most important invention, demonstrated with his student Donna Strickland while at the University of Rochester (N.Y.), is the laser amplification technique known as Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), universally used today. CPA revolutionized the field of optics, opening new branches like attosecond pulse generation, Nonlinear QED, and compact particle accelerators. It extended the field of optics to nuclear and particle physics. In 2005, Prof. Mourou proposed a new infrastructure, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), which is distributed over three pillars located in the Czech Republic, Romania, and Hungary. Prof. Mourou also pioneered the field of femtosecond ophthalmology that relies on a CPA femtosecond laser for precise myopia corrections and corneal transplants. Over a million such procedures are now performed annually. Prof. Mourou is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering, and a foreign member of the Russian Science Academy, the Austrian Sciences Academy, and the Lombardy Academy for Sciences and Letters. He is Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur.

Physics Faculty Work to Improve Accessibility and Destigmatize Disability Across CLAS

About 20% of UConn students are supported by the Center for Students with Disabilities. The true percentage of students who need help is even higher. With so many students who require diverse ways of learning, how can faculty make sure their teaching is adequate, effective and inclusive for all students? In order to address this situation, CLAS has supported the Accessibility Fellowship Program during the 2022-2023 academic year with the goal to study disability and improve the accessibility situation at UConn and generally in higher education. Indeed, research shows that these students can perform at the highest standards in the classroom and in research, if they are given appropriate conditions to do so. One of the fellows in this program was our Dr. Erin Scanlon, Assistant Professor in-Residence at the Avery Point regional campus. The Center for Students with Disabilities makes a difference by addressing aspects related to, e.g., submitting assignments or taking tests. This is important but not enough. Instructors can make an even bigger difference at a much earlier stage, before submitting homework or taking tests, namely while the students learn in the classroom. Small changes in the classroom teaching can significantly improve the performance of the students. Which small changes can faculty implement? A lot is known about this thanks to the research of Dr. Scanlon and other scholars in Physics Education Research (PER) who study the learning needs of students with special needs. For more information on this important topic see the UConn Today news article

The Mirion Technologies Inc. – UConn Physics Partnership

Mirion representatives meeting with UConn physics grad students
Fig. 1: Dr. James Zickefoos (black shirt) and Dr. Patrick McLeroy of the Mirion Technologies Inc. posing in front of Zimmerman’s setup for his senior Honor Thesis at the LNS at Avery Point, and discussing with LNS graduate students Sarah R. Stern and Deran K. Schweitzer possibilities for employment at Mirion Technologies, Inc.

Mirion Technologies, Inc. ( formerly Canberra Inc., located in Meriden, CT, a worldwide leading company for manufacturing of electronics and nuclear detectors, established a partnership with our Physics department. In this partnership between our Physics department and a local industry, our students are encouraged to apply to spend a summer internship in the “real world” setting of a local industry of Connecticut. Indeed, our first senior undergrad student Mr. Nicolas Zimmerman (UConn-BSc ‘23) was hired by Mirion Technologies Inc. as a non destructive analyses (NDA) specialist. We look forward to future students who will follow the trail blazed by Nicolas to contribute to the development of local high-tech industry and the very economy of our state.


On February 6, 2023, Dr. James Zickefoos and Dr. Patrick McLeroy of the Mirion Technologies Inc., visited the Laboratory for Nuclear Science (LNS) at Avery Point, that is directed by Professor Moshe Gai ( In Fig. 1 we show them posing in front of Zimmerman’s setup for his senior Honor Thesis. They discussed with our graduate students Sarah R. Stern and Deran K. Schweitzer possibilities for employment at Mirion Technologies, Inc. It is interesting to note that Dr. Zickefoos was the graduate student of the late Professor Jeffrey Schweitzer who was hired in 1997 by Professor Moshe Gai as a Research Professor doing research at Gai’s LNS lab; further solidifying the strong bond between our department and Mirion Technologies.