By Kirsten DoransPrint
July 30, 2008
Reamonn Soto, a BNL Office of Educational Programs summer student, is using his internship as a chance to quench his thirst for knowledge. Soto, who graduated from Tallahassee Community College in April, loves finding out as much as he can about how the world around him works.
Summer Student Reamonn Soto
As a Community College Institute (CCI) student, Soto is working with BNL physicist Helio Takai on the Mixed Apparatus Radio-wave Investigation of Atmospheric Cosmic-rays of High Ionization (MARIACHI) Project. MARIACHI is a unique research collaboration between BNL and high schools and universities investigating whether radio waves can be used as an inexpensive method to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays - subatomic particles with extreme kinetic energy.
"I'm really enjoying my time at BNL," Soto said. "It feels like my second home. I can stay focused on my education here."
When he's not searching for cosmic ray showers, Soto enjoys doing tai chi, yoga, reiki, and Bible studies. Back at home in Florida, he also takes flight lessons.
When Soto talks about some of the questions he is asking this summer, his eyes light up.
"We are bombarded by particles that come from outer space," he said. "We don't know how they might affect us. Can these particles have any effect on our weather - on cloud formation or temperature? These are some of the things that we hope to discover."
For his project, Soto is working with high school and college students to install liquid scintillator detectors at four local high schools. There are also radar detectors at all of these locations. The scintillators will serve as a control to detect neutrinos produced from cosmic ray showers. When all four of the scintillators detect neutrinos at exactly the same time, a cosmic ray shower has occurred.
"If the radar detectors in the classrooms detect the shower at the same time as the scintillators, we can validate that radar detection is an inexpensive tool to detect ultra-high-energy cosmic rays over an area of a couple thousand kilometers," Soto explained.
"This project has really inspired me and given me the confidence to do research," Soto said. " I'm getting hands-on training and the experience of actually becoming a scientist."
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