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Cruz ’21, Projansky ’21 Conduct Nuclear Physics Research


Adri Cruz ’21 and Andrew Projansky ’21 have spent June and July doing theoretical physics research for professors Brian Collett and Gordon Jones. They have collected data for the project and have been coding, modeling, testing, and debugging the program they created for the project. While Projansky does most of the setup and coding for the project, Cruz takes on the more experimental side, comparing their data against Andrew’s code. They are working alongside Samantha D’Angelo ’21 and Lindsay Gearty ’21, who are doing similar physics research.

Cruz and Projansky are analyzing a polarizing device for neutrons and attempting to determine why it works and under what conditions it works best. Neutrons can be helpful with imaging and are relevant in NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance), which contributes to modern medical technology. The research essentially aims to help physicists better understand why certain devices work so the technology can be more accurately controlled and applied.

About Andrew Projansky ’21

Majors: Math, physics

Hometown: Buffalo Grove, Ill.

High School: Stevenson High School

Projansky, vice president of the Society of Physics Students, noted that the project directly relates to his interests. “I really like this just because this project is a mix of physics, coding, and math. I’ve studied here physics and math, and I used to be a comp sci major, so it seems a bit logical,” he said, explaining how his majors and prior interest in computer science had helped make him a fit candidate for the job.

 Projansky also said that this type of physics research aligned with the side of physics academia that he enjoys: “In physics, you either do experiments or you do theory, pretty much. I am much more of a theorist. . . . I like that at least the coding and modeling part was a more theoretical component that still had a purpose.”

About Adri Cruz ’21

Major: Physics

Hometown: White Plains, NY

High School: White Plains High School

Cruz similarly said that project has been fulfilling for her. “It involves more strategic planning and I like coming up with ideas or plans and testing them out,” she stated. She takes an active role in the research and enjoys appreciates the opportunity to apply her knowledge.

Projansky also said that Collett and Jones have guided them through the basics of the project but are ultimately allowing the students to work independently work on it. “They’ve been really instructive, but also it’s nice that there’s some hands-off-ness ... It’s ‘Do it. Try it out. See what’s up. Explore. What do you think you have to do?’” he said.  

Both Cruz and Projansky are interested in becoming professional physics researchers. Cruz said that one of the major fields she wants enter is nuclear physics, which she studies for the project, and Projansky said that he would eventually like to go into theoretical physics research and potentially become a professor. For them, doing research for Collett and Jones has been an insight into a potential future.

Cruz and Projansky are among 200 Hamilton students conducting research or completing an internship supported by the College this summer.

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