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Twelve Central students selected to conduct research at Argonne National Laboratory

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Twelve Central students selected to conduct research at Argonne National Laboratory

Photo courtesy of Naperville Central math department

Photo courtesy of Naperville Central math department

Photo courtesy of Naperville Central math department

Justin Borella, Correspondent

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As a part of the Argonne Exemplary Student Research Program (ESRP), a group of 12 Central students has been accepted to conduct research projects at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont. They are using the lab’s Synchrotron X-ray Scanning Tunneling Microscope (SX-STM) to observe the surfaces of metals at the atomic level.

Katherine Seguino, the science instructional coordinator at Central, is also the mentor for the ESRP.

“Every year [Argonne] selects a small group of schools to be part of their program, and the students can work in one or two or three different sections of Argonne,” Seguino said. “We will be working with the APS, the Advanced Protons

Students will be working with the SX-STM, the only microscope in the world that can observe atoms directly.

Ganesan Narayanan, a junior, is one of the students researching at Argonne.

“We are investigating primarily,” Narayanan said. “So most of our research is going to be done testing different samples and assessing various variables.”

One of the primary goals of the group is to learn anything about the metals that could help the development of nanotechnology and batteries.

“We are learning about different types of storage devices, we’re looking at different applications that this technology could have now and in the future,” Seguino said. “We are going to be looking quite a bit into nanotechnology applications.”

The students involved are also looking forward to learning more about the machine and the atoms.

Ammaar Saeed, a junior, is another Central student at Argonne.

“I would say the major goal is to gain experience working in an active field of research,” Saeed said. “As high school students, there aren’t many opportunities to get hands-on experience like the Argonne project, so it’s really great for that.” 

Working in Argonne is also providing an opportunity for the students to experience things in the field that they would not be exposed to in their normal high school career.

“Early exposure to these facilities is a great chance to get engaged early on and to see what work is like in the field,” Narayanan said.

This opportunity also excites the students because of the ability to meet like-minded students.

“The program is such a wonderful experience,” Saeed said. “Not only do I have the opportunity to work with such advanced equipment as a high school student, I get to interact with other students who are also interested in scientific research.”

Saeed also expressed his deep liking of Argonne.

“It seriously is one of the best laboratories out there and has its hand in a variety of fields, so you really can’t go wrong with Argonne,” Saeed said. 

For current Central students looking to get involved, the program is unfortunately closed for this year. However, in May, Seguino will set up a meeting for aspiring students to apply for next year’s team.

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