Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Exploring the Nuclear Matter 2019
About PING 2019
A pilot program to inspire pre-college students, especially from minority groups, to pursue an education in a Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field was held on July 27, 2019-August 3, 2019 on the campus of Michigan State University. This program entitled “Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Exploring the Nuclear Matter” brought four female high school students from the Hampton City School District (Hampton, VA) and two senior female undergraduate physics majors from Hampton University (Hampton, VA) who served as co-advisors.
The students were tasked to build two Parallel Plate Avalanche Chambers (PPACs) that would be used to measure the position of heavy ion beams for nuclear physics experiments lead by the MoNA Collaboration at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The students were able to accomplish this task over the one-week long pilot program, although none of the PPACs were fully successful in withstanding the required 5 Torr pressure and giving a good signal. From the pre- and post-survey results, at least 50% of the students are interested in pursuing an education in STEM (86.67%), especially nuclear science (50%) and possibly at MSU (50%) with confidence in conducting college level research stayed high (83.33%) while following a very stringent schedule.
The program included participation with the MoNA Collaboration conducted at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory/Facility for Rare Isotope Beams. The MoNA Collaboration consists of 11 institutions, the majority of which being undergraduate institutions and one Historically Black College. It has established itself as a powerful Collaboration to train the next generation of basic and applied nuclear scientists over its 10 years of existence. The Collaboration has involved +100 undergraduate students in various aspects of its research program on unbound neutron-rich nuclei along the dripline of the nuclear chart. With the upcoming of the FRIB facility, a new beam position monitoring system is under development for future MoNA-lead experiments.
The idea to involve pre-college students in assisting the Collaboration in this aforementioned effort lead to the creation of a “Physicists Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Exploring the Nuclear Matter” within which students will build, characterize and perform all the necessary data analysis prior, during and after any experiment that will utilize these detectors.
The program is not only geared to teach participants about STEM or physics. PING administrators and mentors strive to provide an entire experience for the PING participants. The goal is to well-round participants in preparation for their futures. PING administrators to find it equally important to focus on STEM, college preparedness, and agricultural education.
Agriculture can sometimes be a subject that is left unexplored or untaught to students on the STEM track. The very first program, PING 2014, is what made PING administrators realize the importance on educating on the subject of agriculture. It began when students were on a bus, headed to an offsite exploration. Cows in a field were one of the largest excitements of the day. It may seem to be a small thing, however, not all students have even seen a live cow before. PING strives to help bridge the gap between student and animal, city and country, STEM and farm. Head over to the agricultural page to see more.