LSU Graduate Student will Perform Thesis Research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory

LSU Graduate Student Thomas Ruland
LSU Graduate Student Thomas Ruland
Paige Whittington, LSU

LSU physics graduate student, Thomas Ruland, has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science for the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) award in response to the 2020 SCGSR Solicitation 1 cycle.

The award is for Ruland’s proposed SCGSR research project, “Beta Shape Factors of Nuclei Important for Understanding the Reactor Antineutrino Flux,” to be conducted at Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Tennessee. The 52 awardees were selected from a diverse pool of university-based graduate applicants. Selection was based on merit peer review by external scientific experts.

The SCGSR Program provides supplemental funds for graduate awardees to conduct part of their thesis research at a host DOE laboratory in collaboration with a DOE laboratory scientist within a defined award period. The award period for the proposed research project at DOE laboratories may range from 3 to 12 consecutive months.

“These graduate student awards help prepare new scientists for STEM careers that are vitally important to the DOE mission and the nation’s economy,” said Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “We are proud of the accomplishments of these outstanding awardees and look forward to seeing what they achieve in the years to come. They represent the future leadership and innovation that will allow American science and engineering to excel in the 21st century.”

The selection of Ruland for the SCGSR award is in recognition of outstanding academic accomplishments and the merit of the SCGSR research proposal, and reflects Ruland’s potential to advance the Ph.D. studies and make important contributions to the mission of the DOE Office of Science.

“Thomas will be mentored at ORNL by staff scientists Michael Febbraro and Charlie Rasco, formerly a senior postdoctoral researcher at LSU, to fabricate a new type of scintillation detector for the study of nuclear beta decay,” said Jeffery C. Blackmon, chair, LSU Department of Physics & Astronomy. “His research project will make important contributions to our understanding of nuclear reactor safety, the observation of antineutrinos from reactors, and may even constrain new physics beyond the Standard Model. We are very excited about this opportunity”

“I am looking forward to completing my thesis research at ORNL and working with Mike and Charlie to possibly constrain beyond standard model physics as well as help improve reactor safety along the way,” said Ruland.

A native of Springfield, TN, Ruland earned his BS in 2017 from Austin Peay State University. While pursuing his PhD at LSU, Ruland works with Dr. Jeffrey Blackmon in the experimental nuclear physics research group. “In my research at LSU I am consistently being rewarded with new and exciting challenges. I couldn't have found a better research group than here at LSU,” said Ruland.



Mimi LaValle
LSU Physics & Astronomy