Students using the fussball table in the CELEB game area found there was too much glare from the overhead lamp. Students designed a lighting solution, fabricated the parts on a 3D printer, and rolled the metal screen in the machine shop. After completing the initial build, they continued the design cycle by figuring out what went wrong and modifying their ideas. The result: their fussball acumen is much improved.
Keeping an accelerator cool
An informal group of students worked together over several years to design a cooling solution to Beloit College’s linear particle accelerator by bending electromagnet, calculating the necessary power dissipation of the electromagnet, which had a strength of 1 full Tesla, and then finding a way to couple a water feed to prevent the 5 kW magnet from overheating and melting.
Another group of students then redesigned the linear accelerator’s high vacuum system to include a cryogenic trap to improve the vacuum. With the improved system, the accelerator achieved low pressures on the order of 10 nanoTorr.
Seeing the swift and invisible
Students used the Maker Lab to build a cloud chamber, consisting of a plexiglass box filled with isopropyl alcohol, Peltier coolers to supercool the vapor, and a grid to create an electric field. High-energy particles created clouds of condensation as they shot through the vapor at nearly the speed of light. The students compared the trails of particles from a laboratory radioactive sample to the trails from cosmic rays.
Understanding the movement of bodies in space
Under the guidance of Britt Scharringhausen, students interested in astronomy have done independent research projects using images of Saturn, its rings, and its moons from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. Examples include the design of an observation of a ring-plane crossing that was used by the Cassini imaging team, to collect images of the rings seen edge-on.
In a physics topics course on orbital mechanics, students used the laws of physics to calculate trajectories to explore a fictional solar system in Kerbal Space Program.
Sydney Crockett’21 Explores Links between Wild Rice and Sulfate in Minnesota Lakes
Sydney Crockett’21 is an environmental geology and pre-engineering major. Sue Swanson is her thesis advisor. Sydney’s research shows how the decline and recovery of wild rice biomass is linked to sulfate concentrations in lakes.