On April 11, a group of Dr. Walerian Majewski’s Honors students attended the national meeting of the American Physical Society in Baltimore. The meeting brought together physicists and students in astrophysics, gravitational physics, nuclear physics and particle physics to share new research and insights at sessions on dark matter, black holes, cosmic rays, cosmology and the Higgs particle.
NOVA students attended a session on dark matter. There is overwhelming evidence that non-baryonic dark matter constitutes about 27 percent of the energy density of the universe. There is currently an exciting era of dark matter searches and the exploration of physics beyond the standard model of fundamental particles.
Majewski’s students presented several talks and posters on their research, including an investigation by Hannah Glaser and Roberto Rivas of the cosmic-ray muons.
On April 18, the same NOVA group attended a meeting of the Society of Physics Students from Maryland, D.C. and Virginia at the George Washington University. The poster by Nathan Gaul and Amanuel Eshete, “Propulsion and Levitation with Electrodynamic Wheels,” shared the top honors at the competition of the region’s best schools, with NOVA being the only community college in attendance.
Two of Majewski’s students, Glaser and Yash Shevde, recently won highly competitive and prestigious International Research Experiences for Students (IRES) summer internships funded by the National Science Foundation and administered by the George Washington University’s Physics Department. NOVA’s IRES students will travel to Mainz, Germany, to work for eight weeks at the Institute for Nuclear Physics on the structure and the interactions of elementary particles, using an electron accelerator for energies of up to 1.5 GeV.
In addition, Gaul garnered the NASA “STEM Takes Flight” summer internship to research a small satellite concept to demonstrate select aspects of system packaging and functionality.
After reading the report about Majewski’s undergraduate research Honors class, Virginia Community College System Chancellor Glenn DuBois wrote, “I enjoyed reading what you are doing with your students and am particularly impressed by the success your previous students have achieved using their work with you as a launch pad. It’s inspiring to think what Virginia could be if every department at each of our colleges shared your success rate. I believe the most important work our instructors do is inspiring their students to dig deeper and to find a better version of themselves that perhaps they didn’t even know existed. That alchemy of inspiration, elevated self-confidence and tangible achievement is the magic that brings so much value to our mission. I appreciate you sharing with me a small window into your experience at NVCC.”