This 2nd year physics major made FSU's Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator work better
By Paul Cottle, Florida State University, May 19, 2015
Walking into the hall that houses FSU's John D. Fox Superconducting Linear Accelerator can be a little intimidating. Between the cryostat tanks holding the superconducting resonators cooled to liquid helium temperature (4 kelvins, in case you were wondering) to the plumbing and refrigerators that handle all that liquid helium, to the electronics that pump energy into the resonators so that ions of carbon and other elements can be accelerated to 20% of the speed of light - there is plenty to be overwhelmed by.
Apparently being intimidated and overwhelmed never occurred to second-year physics major Madeline Austin, who is also a graduate of Duval County's Stanton Prep. She has spent the last year improving the nanosecond timing of the accelerator so that it can makes beams of ions like carbon-12 more efficiently.
In fact, Austin did such a good job on FSU's accelerator that she won $500 for placing second in the FSU Physics Department's undergraduate research poster session in April.
And Austin is spending this summer at Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, where the resonators that drive FSU's linear accelerator were manufactured. She will return to FSU in the fall.