BNL Allocates NSLS Beamtime to Students

BNL staff with InSynC teachers, students, and parents

BNL staff with InSynC teachers, students, and parents

Launched in 2010, in collaboration with Brookhaven’s Office of Educational Programs and scientists at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS), Introducing Synchrotrons into the Classroom (InSynC) is an opportunity to introduce synchrotron science to students at a young age. The program enables teachers and students to gain onsite and remote web-based access to the Lab’s light source through a competitive, peer-reviewed proposal process. Participating teachers and students learn to formulate hypothesis-driven scientific problems and use the nation’s large user facilities to solve them.

Teachers take part in an intensive three-day synchrotron training program that includes an introduction to synchrotron techniques, hands-on experiments, tours of the NSLS, and proposal-writing sessions. To date, 40 middle school and high school science teachers from 33 Long Island school districts have participated in the training.

Following the training, teachers and their students formulate a hypothesis and a set of experiments using conventional and synchrotron-based methods that use x-rays, ultraviolet light, or both. An NSLS “beamtime” proposal is written and submitted to be reviewed and scored by a panel of synchrotron scientists and science educators. The proposals scoring the highest are allocated beamtime. The students prepare for their experiment and on the designated day, the teacher and several students join scientists at the NSLS where they connect with their classroom via web conferencing and perform their experiment.

Islip Middle School students experiencing the InSynC program

The InSynC program has supported experiments in earth and environmental sciences, bioenergy, and chemistry. Students have presented their results at the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair, at the annual NSLS Users Meeting, and for the Lab’s Summer Sunday program. It is anticipated that some student results from InSynC will be published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. To learn more, contact Scott Bronson at sbronson@bnl.gov.

2012-2846  INT/EXT  |  Media & Communications Office

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