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ACADEMICS
Saul Krasner Memorial Science Lecture Series
Dr. James McDonald, University of Hartford

"Helium Implanted Targets for Nuclear Accelerators" 

Abstract: Many important nuclear reactions in the Sun involve helium. These reactions can be difficult to study because of problems creating suitable accelerator targets. Since helium is a noble gas there are no compounds which can be used as target materials and traditional gas targets present significant problems when making high-precision measurements. I will discuss a method implanting small pockets of helium gas into a thin host foil of metal that was developed by a collaboration involving faculty and students at the University of Hartford. A short background on accelerators in nuclear physics will also be presented.  

Biography: James McDonald is an Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford, where he teaches introductory physics, optics, and science in art. His research is primarily in the area of nuclear astrophysics – the nuclear reactions that take place in stars like our sun. He is also active in the area of K-12 science education for teachers, especially in developing hands-on activities for classroom and homeschool use. Dr. McDonald received his B.S. in Physics from Clarkson University and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Connecticut. He has been a Board Member of the Connecticut Association of Physics Teachers and is also a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society Forum on Education and the New York Academy of Sciences Science Education Section.