Khang Pham Awarded LSU Discover Scholar

Physics undergraduate Khang Pham, a native of Vietnam, and a McNair Research Scholar, has been named a 2018 LSU Discover Scholar awardee. Currently mentored by Professor Catherine Deibel, Pham is doing research in the nuclear physics group.Pham

“My part of the research involves designing and testing a focal plane detector system for the Enge split-pole spectrograph, which is being assembled at Florida State University,” said Pham. “The overall goal of the research is to study nuclear reactions to better understand the reactions that synthesize the elements in various stellar environments.”

LSU Discover Scholar Awards celebrate the achievements of the top ten students who exemplify outstanding undergraduate research or creative endeavors within their fields.  Awardees are honored with a ceremony and given a $1,500 travel stipend.

“The Department of Physics and Astronomy is very proud that Khang Pham was recognized for his research accomplishments,” said Department Chair John DiTusa. “This award is also a recognition of the high level of research being carried out by
our students and faculty in P&A and an example of the many benefits that this
research creates for our students.”

Pham’s research has spanned both computational physics and nuclear physics at LSU. “With Dr. Juana Moreno, I was doing computational physics and I learned the skills necessary to program and simulate physics problems. With Dr. Deibel, I was introduced to experimental skills in a lab, and though I love the computational side of physics, I personally find experimental work to be more exciting. It was Dr. Deibel that provided me the opportunity to explore and realize that experimental work is a better fit for me. Overall, I feel very fortunate and grateful to have two very caring and thoughtful mentors that have helped me become a much better version of myself.”

Pham attended Ellender Memorial High School in Houma, La. and knew he wanted to attend LSU to study physics. “What I like most, but also what is sometimes frustrating and rage inducing about physics is the fact that it never gets easy,” said Pham. “You just become more passionate about the subject. I find that the more difficult a physics problem gets, the more satisfaction I feel once I solve and understand the problem.”

Pham will present his present his work at the LSU Discover Day event on April 10, 2018.

For more about the LSU Discover program, visit


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Contact Mimi LaValle

LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy