Physics students win four awards at national conference

By Caroline Burgess, October 31, 2006

    Sheetal Saxena, Katie Woods, Daryl Mason and Matt Farrar won awards at the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick last week. Photo by Susan Bubak.
McMaster students attending the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick last week walked away with four out of the six prizes for talks and posters.

In the Talks category, Matthew Farrar, a fourth-year honours physics student, received first prize for his talk, The Stability of Diblock Copolymer Thin Films Below the Order-Disorder Transition. Daryl Mason, a fourth-year honours physics student, received second prize for his talk, Searching for Dark Energy: Scalar Fields in a 6-D Universe.

In the Posters category, Sheetal Saxena, a fourth-year honours medical physics student, was awarded second prize for her poster, A Characteristic Evaluation of the New Megavoltage Cone Beam CT System and Katie Woods, a third-year honours physics student, received third prize for her poster, Trapped Ion Quantum Computer.

McMaster sent an impressive contingent to the conference. Ten undergraduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy attended to present talks or posters on research they undertook in the summer as part of the department's Undergraduate Summer Research Program.

They were jointly sponsored by the department and by their research supervisors. The department held a practice session a week before the conference at which attendees presented their work to an audience of graduate students, post-doctorates and faculty, who offered advice and constructive criticiesm.

After this session, the students practiced again with their supervisors.

Matthew Farrar's talk was based on research he did under the supervision of Dr. Kari Dalnoki-Veress and with the support of an NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Assistantship.

Daryl Mason, who also held an NSERC USRA this summer, presented a talk based on research he did under the supervision of Dr. Cliff Burgess.

Katie Woods's poster was based on her summer research project supervised by Dr. Brian King.

Four undergraduates from McMaster's Department of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation Science also attended the conference to present posters they had prepared as part of their Medical Physics Communications course.

Sheetal Saxena's poster was based on summer research she did at Sunnybrook Hospital under the supervision of Dr. Geordi Pang.