Physics student Meg Morris spending summer researching in Europe

Tribune-Post Staff
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Mount Allison University physics student Meg Morris has earned a paid research position for the summer in Germany and Scotland. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Many people dream of spending a summer in Europe and second-year Mount Allison University physics student Meg Morris is doing just that.

She has a paid research position for the summer in Germany and Scotland. She is one of five undergraduate students nationwide, and the only one in her second year of studies, to receive the CINP (Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics) Undergraduate Research Scholarship. The award contributes to her position at the lab and also pays her travel expenses to Mainz, Germany.

Along with her supervisor, Mount Allison physics professor David Hornidge, Morris is currently in Mainz working with the Mainz Microtron (MAMI), which is a special kind of particle accelerator. Experiments have been running over the past couple years to determine the polarizabilities of hadrons, protons specifically, which are elementary particles.

“Meg is an outstanding student and has the potential to make an excellent researcher,” says Hornidge. “She wrote a superb application for the CINP summer research award and I have full confidence that she will be able to successfully execute the active-target tests and simulations. It is undergraduate researchers like Meg that have helped make my research program so productive over the last decade.”

Later in the summer, she will head to Glasgow to help test some pieces of the active helium target that they intend to transport to Mainz to run future experiments. The German Research Foundation will sponsor the trip to Glasgow.

“I am extremely lucky to have this particular project because it takes me to Glasgow, but also because it will have me doing some hands-on hardware work instead of just software projects,” she says. “This active helium target is really something else. It is called an active target because it acts as both the target and a detector of the events that occur. This target will be used here in Mainz to determine the scalar polarizabilities of another hadron, the neutron. There have been experiments in the past that have measured these values, but they have thus far been unsatisfactory.”

All her work will culminate in a poster presentation in August as part of the Canadian team at the International Conference of Women in Physics in Waterloo, ON. Three other female physics summer research students from Mount Allison will also be presenting their work. The conference will allow them to present their work, learn about the work of other women in physics from around the world, and attend a number of lectures by significant female physicists.

Morris, who hails from Elgin, ON, is also taking advantage of the opportunity to travel over the summer.

“Outside of my work here, I have already taken a few trips to other cities on the Rhine near Mainz, which are all just gorgeous,” says Morris. “I have a couple other trips planned – all of which will have me visiting family members here in Germany and in Switzerland, some of whom I have never met. So I am excited for the opportunity to make these new connections.”

Organizations: Mount Allison University, Institute of Nuclear Physics, German Research Foundation

Geographic location: Mainz, Germany, Europe Glasgow Scotland Waterloo Elgin Rhine Switzerland

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