College Mini-Semester Students Spend Their Winter Break at Brookhaven Lab

Photo of Mini-Semester Program students enlarge

Mini-Semester Program students working on a chemistry experiment at Brookhaven Lab are: (seated) Khaing Thinzar Win from St. Joseph's College, Brooklyn campus; (from left) William Willis, Stony Brook University; Adeyemi Adebayo, Holyoke Community College; and Jockquin Jones, Howard University, who was assisting the students as a mini-semester group leader.

UPTON, NY — Twenty-two students from 15 colleges — from locations as far-ranging as New York and Alabama — spent five days of their winter break at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory discovering cutting-edge science. The students were enrolled in the Brookhaven Lab’s College Mini-Semester Program, in which they learn about the world-class science performed at the Laboratory through lectures, tours, and team research experience.

The students toured Brookhaven Lab’s world-class facilities, such as the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider, where physicists discovered a “perfect” liquid that they believe existed in the early universe; the National Synchrotron Light Source, where researchers probe materials as diverse as comets and computer chips; and the Center for Functional Nanomaterials, where the studies of the ultra-small may lead to ultra-big discoveries.

The focus of study for the students was Brookhaven’s Laser-Electron Accelerator Facility (LEAF), where Brookhaven Lab chemist James Wishart and other scientists investigate chemical reactions by bombarding samples with tiny clusters of high-energy electrons. This technique allows scientists to “see” chemical processes that occur on extremely short time scales.

“At the end of the mini-semester, each student made an oral presentation on the week’s work and was required to present a research report on how LEAF would be an important tool for his or her area of study,” said Noel Blackburn, an educational programs administrator in Brookhaven’s Office of Educational Programs, which manages the Mini-Semester Program. “All of the students are science, technology, engineering or mathematics majors, and the Mini-Semester Program often whets their intellectual appetite for more scientific exploration. Students in the program often go on to attend our summer internship programs.”

For more information on Brookhaven Lab’s educational programs, see

Tags: education

2009-10905  |  INT/EXT  |  Newsroom