CMU undergraduate physicists excel at CUWIP conference, engage with renowned scientist Jocelyn Bell Burnell

| Author: Robert Wang | Media Contact: Robert Wang

Last month, the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) at the University of Michigan had two budding CMU undergraduate physicists in attendance, Savannah Limarenko and Savannah Nahodil.

Nahodil is conducting research at CMU that delves into the fascinating realm of meteorites. Using x-ray testing, she analyzed unknown samples, ultimately identifying them as meteorites. By comparing their chemical composition to known asteroid compositions and stellar spectra, Nahodil aims to unlock insights into the composition of the presolar nebula and interstellar medium at the solar system's formation.

Meanwhile, Limarenko, who was able to showcase her research at the conference, is working on the Central Michigan High Precision Penning Trap (CHIP-TRAP), a cutting-edge tool designed to accurately measure the mass of unstable and long-lived isotopes. Her focus lies in simulating ejection optics for CHIP-TRAP, which could significantly enhance our understanding of ion capture and transport within the trap.

However, the highlight of the conference wasn't just the presentations. Both Savannahs had the unique opportunity to engage with keynote speaker Jocelyn Bell Burnell, a renowned astrophysicist celebrated for her discovery of pulsars. Bell Burnell's groundbreaking work, which began as a Ph.D. student in the 1960’s, uncovered the enigmatic signals emitted by rapidly rotating neutron stars, fundamentally altering our understanding of the universe.

In reflecting on the conference, both Limarenko and Nahodil expressed gratitude for the chance to interact with Bell Burnell and other trailblazing women physicists. Bell Burnell herself commended the conference for its role in fostering the next generation of female scientists, remarking on the excitement of seeing so many young women passionate about physics.

The CUWIP conference served as a platform not only for scientific exchange but also for inspiration and mentorship, reaffirming the importance of nurturing diversity and inclusivity within the field of physics.

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