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Grad students earn prestigious DOE research awards, funding

Two Buckeye engineers are among only 47 graduate students nationwide chosen to receive highly competitive Department of Energy (DOE) research awards.

Cory Myers

Materials science and engineering (MSE) PhD students Cory Myers and Chris Kovacs each earned DOE’s Office of Science Graduate Student Research award. The 47 new awardees come from 36 different universities and will continue their doctoral thesis research in DOE national laboratories. Their proposed projects address scientific challenges central to Office of Science mission areas across six research programs.

Advised by Professor Michael Sumption, Myers studies how the microstructure of a superconductor or superconducting composite influences its own magnetic and electrical properties. Superconducting composites are used to make high-field magnets, such as those in MRIs and particle accelerators.

“Currently, high-field magnets are largely made from low-temperature superconducting composites,” Myers said. “However, there is a desire to use high-temperature superconducting magnets for future accelerator projects since they can generate larger magnetic fields.” His research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in collaboration with Research Scientist Xiaorong Wang, will explore the magnetic and electrical properties of such high-temperature superconductors.

Kovacs will advance his own superconductor research at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory with R&D Group Leader Emanuela Barzi. Also advised by Professor Sumption, Kovacs focuses on properties of next-generation superconductor hierarchical composites for high energy physics (HEP) projects. Kovacs and Barzi aim to increase maximum magnet fields to allow scientific investigations into new realms, while decreasing variance in magnet performance.

Chris Kovacs

“We are at an exciting time in science,” Kovacs said. “These HEP experiments seek to answer the most fundamental questions about existence, everything around us, and how everything interacts to explain how the universe is and came to be.”

The goal of the Office of Science Graduate Student Research (SCGSR) program is to prepare graduate students for STEM careers critically important to the DOE Office of Science mission. The research opportunity is expected to advance the graduate students’ overall doctoral thesis while providing access to the expertise, resources and capabilities available at DOE facilities.

The student awards provide financial support for travel to and from the DOE laboratory and monthly stipend up to $3,000 for up to 12 consecutive months.