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A Pitt PhD student was awarded a research opportunity at the Fermi Lab


Logan Rice, a graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected to conduct experimental research in high-energy physics at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) Program. 

He is among 78 outstanding U.S. graduate students from 55 different U.S. universities selected to conduct research at 14 DOE national laboratories.

The SCGSR program, funded by the DOE Office of Science, provides opportunities for graduate students to spend 3-12 consecutive months onsite at a DOE national laboratory or facility conducting graduate thesis research in a priority research area, side by side with a DOE laboratory scientist. 

The research projects are expected to advance the graduate awardee’s overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources and capabilities available at the DOE laboratories/facilities.

The awards provide support for travel to and from the laboratory, and a monthly stipend of up to $3,000 for general living expenses at the host DOE laboratory during the award period.

He will begin June 14 under mentor Minerba Betancourt, working on ICARUS cosmic ray tagger system commissioning and data analysis.

“The ICARUS experiment is part of the Short Baseline Neutrino Program at Fermilab. It will make measurements of neutrino cross sections, neutrino flavor oscillations and search for other rare processes,” Rice explained. “The ability to reconstruct neutrino events in ICARUS is complicated by the high rate of cosmic-ray muons which pass through the detector. These cosmic-ray muons can be confused with muons produced in a genuine neutrino event or can interfere with a reconstructed event. These particles will also produce light flashes which will interfere with extracting event timing information. Controlling this background is vital to all of ICARUS physics measurements.”

“This will be a valuable opportunity for Logan to obtain hands-on experience at a National Lab,” said Donna Naples, Rice’s graduate advisor.

Said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm: “DOE has long been where the nation turns for scientific solutions to complex challenges, and now more than ever we need to invest in a diverse, talented pipeline of scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs who can continue this legacy of excellence.

“I’m thrilled that these outstanding students will help us tackle mission-critical research at our labs, and I can’t wait to see what their futures hold.”