By Jeff McLeod
From the author, Jeff McLeod:
In the summer of 2010, I had the valuable experience of working in Dr. Ali Bakhshai's materials science research lab at Goucher where I methodically completed several research projects on mechanical alloying. As this paper describes, mechanical alloying employs kinetic energy to catalyze a chemical reaction. I had the opportunity to study and work hands-on with this alternative method of materials synthesis, and gained valuable knowledge of some commonly-used instruments in materials science, like the x-ray diffractometer Ali and I were able to use at Towson University and Goucher's own atomic force microscope. During the summer, I completed three projects using a systematic research method - one with bismuth oxide (BiO), one with zinc oxide (ZnO) and one with yttrium barium copper oxide (YBaCuO). During my independent study in fall semester of 2010, I expanded on the research I completed over the summer in this paper, in which I more closely analyze the physical details of the zinc reaction, making an exciting connection with the phase equilibria of the Zn-ZnO system. I've given several talks on campus on my research, and I also gave a talk recently at the 2011 March Meeting of the American Physical Society along with many other undergraduates. I am very proud of my research and happy to have gained valuable experience in the process; I am very thankful to Ali and the Goucher College Summer Science Research program as well as Dr. Raj Kolagani at Towson University for their support and encouragement. The experience of doing research as an undergraduate in physics has been invaluable to me in my pursuit of further education.
From the nominator, Ali Bakhshai
This article was a result of Jeff McLeod's Summer 2010 research with me in materials sciences-physics. The work was done during the 9 week full time student/faculty collaborative research in sciences in my research lab at Goucher in addition to several trips to my collaborator's lab in the Towson University. Jeff followed a detailed scientific method approach by first doing the literature search and background reading and setting a clear hypothesis. He then followed a systematic approach to collect very clean data by making the samples with utmost precision using many sophisticated laboratory instrumentation. He finally did a detailed analysis of the data and formed his conclusion and achieved excellent results to prove his hypothesis. Jeff has made several oral and poster presentations of these results including one at a prestigious annual international March meeting of the American Physical Society in Dallas Texas (March-2011).
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