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Home > SVCPulse > News Archive

Two Physics Majors Complete Research at Penn State

Public Relations
Posted: Thursday Dec 20, 2012

Dec. 20, 2012

Two Saint Vincent College physics majors recently completed hands-on, advanced internships at Penn State University that prepared them for their future careers in physics.

Kyle Surovec of State College and Phillip Meyerhofer of Leesburg, Virginia, both seniors in the Herbert W. Boyer School of Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Computing, pursued internships that gave them an opportunity to apply everything they have learned at Saint Vincent to actual research applications.

Surovec worked in the Engineering Science and Mechanics Department doing nondestructive evaluation with ultrasound and ultrasonics. “We measured the integrity of material with sound waves,” he said. “We experimented with a new method utilizing sol-gel ultrasonics by fabricating our own chemical formulas and applying it to the samples.”

“I was able to take it much further by perfecting the process of mixing the chemicals and depositing it on the material,” Surovec said. “A major corporation was interested in what we were doing because they wanted to use it for measuring the output and integrity of a nuclear reactor. So, the university received substantial support for our research and provided all of the equipment and supplies that were needed. We were able to meet their challenge and learn a lot in the process.” He is writing an article for a scientific journal about his research. “I will have my name on it,” he noted. “Really cool.” After his expected graduation in May, Surovec plans to become a nuclear Naval engineer, teaching in the Navy’s nuclear school.

He credits all of his professors with providing him with an excellent educational experience. “My education is on par with the major universities but I consider myself ahead of them because I have had that one-on-one attention and I know how to work through problems,” Surovec commented. “I haven’t just memorized problems. I think my logic skills have been perfected.”

Meyerhofer worked with Dr. Jun Zhu in the Penn State Physics Department’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program, funded by the National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network.

His research involved graphene – a single layer of carbon atoms with interesting properties electrically and mechanically which hold enormous potential for development. “I learned a great deal about nanotechnology and expanded my knowledge of working in a research environment,” he noted.

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Photos: Kyle Surovec and Phillip Meyerhofer 

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