Project 8 hosts high school internship

People in zoom meeting.
June 18, 2024

The Project 8 experiment team at Yale hosted Asia Genawi, a rising senior in high school at the Indiana Academy for Science, Math, and the Humanities at Ball State University in Indiana, for a May Term Internship from May 13-24. 

Project 8 utilizes a novel technique, dubbed Cyclotron Radiation Emission Spectroscopy (CRES), to perform a precision measurement of the yet unknown mass of the neutrino, a mysterious, ghostly particle that passes through most matter in the Universe without being affected. 

Genawi is working on a computing project called “Project 8 trap integration studies”. The two-week intensive internship gave Genawi an opportunity to become more familiar with the configuration and analysis involved in a computing project that is ongoing within Project 8. 

Before the internship officially began, Penny Slocum, research scientist in physics and a member of Yale’s Wright Lab, worked with Genawi on building up some infrastructure to investigate the physics implications of trap integration in the P8 phase III experiment. The focused internship period then allowed Genawi continuous time to work on the project, having completed other classwork for the semester. 

Slocum explained, “We have to trap both electrons and tritium atoms. They each need their own kind of trap, and the traps must work together.” 

Slocum continued, “We would like to confirm that one trap is not going to interfere with the other trap. Asia would like to generate some results to show what happens to the electrons, if anything, when we activate the tritium atom trap with the electrons.” 

The calculations of the trap magnetic field are computationally intensive, so Slocum and Genawi worked together, supported by the Yale Center for Research Computing (YCRC), to develop a workflow to use a high-performance computing (HPC) cluster at Yale. Hamish Robertson, Professor Emeritus at the University of Washington in Seattle, collaborated on the project.  Early results of the Internship have shown promising advancement toward addressing the critical questions that motivated the study, and have recently been extended into more detailed electron trap calculations.  

This experience has solidified my desire to continue nuclear physics research while pursuing degrees in both computer science and physics,” said Genawi, who will present the results of her work in Project 8 internal working group meetings.

Karsten Heeger, Eugene Higgins Professor and Chair of Physics and director of Wright Lab is the principal investigator of the Yale Project 8 group. The Heeger group is performing research and development on antenna and cavity prototypes; developing algorithms for event reconstruction and analysis; and performing simulations to explore the detector resolution, magnetic field configurations, and the experiment’s sensitivity.

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