Physics student lands REU in Paris

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Pratibha Gautam

Staff Writer

Ty Naquin, a sophomore physics major from Millbrook, has received a fully funded research opportunity in Paris this summer. Along with his travel, food and housing expenses, Naquin will receive a stipend of $5,000. 

The Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU), called Optics in the City of Lights, is hosted by the University of Michigan’s Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS) in collaboration with different French institutions. These institutions will host a total of eight students for eight weeks during the summer.

According to the University of Michigan website, students will spend one week in Ann Arbor, Michigan, at CUOS for orientation, safety training, preparation for living in France and immersion into the Ann Arbor laboratories of the REU faculty. They will then travel to France for their REU.

According to Naquin, applicants were asked to select five potential research topics from a list of eight from the previous year. 

“They will try to pair us with similar topics based on our preferences,” he said.

Naquin applied for the position in early January and was notified about his acceptance three weeks ago. 

“I’ll probably get a chance to meet Gerard Mourou,” said Naquin when asked about what he was looking forward to. “I hope so; that would be really neat.”

Gerard Albert Mourou is a French scientist who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, along with Donna Strickland, for the invention of chirped pulse amplification, a technique later used to create ultrashort-pulse, very high-intensity laser pulses. He is also one of the founders of the REU program.

“I am also looking forward to working with some really neat lasers and cutting-edge optics techniques,” Naquin said.

Naquin was introduced to lasers in his 4-credit hour upper level physics elective “Waves and Optics” and the corresponding lab. During his freshman year, Naquin and peers assembled an interferometer, a device that splits laser beams and utilizes their interference in making precision measurements. 

He is currently working with James Sanders, an assistant professor of physics, and Donavan Ebersol, a senior physics and math major from Blountstown, Florida, to measure the viscosity of glycerol to eventually design an efficient and economic test to determine the viscosity of liquids, an experiment that can be a part of an undergraduate lab.

His other research experiences include characterizing the solution properties of protein drug delivery nanoparticles conducted at Cleveland State University, which he will be presenting at the American Physical Society’s March meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. 

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