Two scientists who perform research at NSCL earn U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science Early Career awards

Two scientists who perform research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and will perform research at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams have received U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (DOE-SC) Early Career Research Program awards.

The program, in its ninth year, awards financial support to scientists from universities and DOE national labs to help advance their research. Research proposals are peer-reviewed and selected by one of the following six offices: Advanced Scientific Computing, Biological and Environmental Research, Basic Energy Sciences, Fusion Energy Sciences, High Energy Physics, and Nuclear Physics. This year, eighty-four scientists from across the United States were selected for the honor.

Zach Meisel

Zach Meisel, assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio University, was selected by the Office of Nuclear Physics to receive funding for his proposal, “Constraining Neutron Star Structure with Indirect Nuclear Reaction Studies.” Meisel has an active experimental program at NSCL and will continue it at FRIB.

Meisel’s research involves the origin of the elements and the behavior of matter at extreme densities and low temperatures. He also investigates the structural evolution of nuclei, nuclear reactions for intermediate mass nuclides, and the development of nuclear instrumentation and analysis techniques.

"How matter behaves at the highest densities achieved by nature is an open question," said Meisel. “My research supported by the DOE Early Career Award will shed light on this by constraining processes occurring in the outer layers of neutron stars, ultradense remnants of stellar explosions, by removing some of the most important nuclear physics uncertainties involved. I’m looking forward to carrying out part of this research using the world-class capabilities of NSCL and related work at FRIB in the near future.”

Meisel earned his bachelor’s degree in astrophysics and his PhD in physics from MSU. He is a member of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics and is affiliated with the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics. Meisel also conducts nuclear astrophysics research at Ohio University’s Edwards Accelerator Laboratory.

Jaideep Singh

Jaideep Singh, Michigan State University assistant professor of physics at FRIB, was selected by the Office of Nuclear Physics to receive funding for his proposal, “Towards a Next Generation Search for Time-Reversal Violation Using Optically Addressable Nuclei in Cryogenic Solids.” Singh has a joint appointment in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Singh’s research examines how certain rare atoms with a pear-shaped core (nucleus) have unmatched sensitivity to new kinds of forces between subatomic particles that are not the same when the arrow of time is reversed. Such forces are believed to be responsible for all of the visible matter in the observable universe. These rare atoms, some for the first time, will be produced in large numbers at FRIB. In anticipation, he is developing a very sensitive laser-based clock using more common atoms implanted inside of a transparent sheet of frozen neon at very cold temperatures (-452 degrees F). Implantation into a solid is potentially an effective way to both efficiently capture and repeatedly probe the small number of rare atoms, such as radium and protactinium. The potential sensitivity of this new approach could be at least a few hundred times greater than the current leading experiment.

“I was speechless when I was informed by my DOE Program Officer that I was to receive Early Career Award,” said Singh. “It will accelerate my research program by about fifteen years. The award is a recognition of both the world-class scientific support at the laboratory as well as the unique scientific opportunities of FRIB.”

Singh earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology, and earned his PhD in physics from the University of Virginia. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne National Laboratory and a postdoctoral research scientist at Technische Universitaet Muenchen in Germany. In 2014, he joined MSU as an assistant professor in experimental nuclear science and began his research at NSCL.

Award winners