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Projects

During the two-week research experience, students and teachers conduct short-term research projects under the guidance or ORNL and ORAU mentor scientists. The culmination of this two-week experience is a poster session where the research groups present their research posters to and answer questions from federal and state ARC dignitaries, ORNL and ORAU dignitaries, parents, and friends.


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Student Projects


  • Climate Systems Science, Modeling, and Communication

    This workshop focuses on science and communication about climate change. Science mentors lead activities that help participants understand and learn about the complexities of climate change science, findings from climate modelling projects and experiments, and the collection, processing, and analysis of scientific data.

    Communications mentors guide participants in talking about and writing about their understandings of climate change science with different audiences in mind. Examples of science misconceptions, disinformation, and poor communication will be diagnosed and remedied. Experts in related fields such as materials science, appliance efficiency, building design, and audio/video/data technology discuss their respective connections to climate change science. In summary, this workshop is for participants learning about climate change science, conducting their own climate experiments in their home communities, confidently communicating what they know about the science, and using their knowledge and skills in the future.

    ORNL Division: Computational Science and Engineering Communications Office

    Mentors: Melissa Allen and Bill Cabbage

    Facilitator: Ross Toedte

    Assistants: Abby Bower

    Students: Carson Bartholic, Jacob Fay, Logan Hine, Jordan McCord-Wolbert, Abigail Regan, Piper Seagle, Isaac Sulfridge, Mia Sutton, Stephanie Weisberger

  • Designing for Strength: Making the Most of Your 3D prints

    Finite deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printing has become incredibly popular due to the expiration of key patents governing the technology.

    A cheap FDM printer has gone from $20k to $200 in less than two decades, quickly leading to the proliferation of FDM 3D printers among hobbyists and engineers alike. While FDM 3D printing has many advantages over more traditional manufacturing techniques, it tends to result in weaker parts than parts made by machining processes. In this class, we will learn how to design and print parts for strength, and along the way you will assemble a 3D printer and learn the basics of computer aided design. We will strength tests parts using a hydraulic press and force gauge and analyze the resulting data. Finally, we will write a report on the practices that result in the strongest 3D printed parts.

    LANL Divisions: Bioscience (B) / Explosive Science and Shock Physcs (M) / Weapons Stockpile Modernization Division (Q)

    Mentor: Jacob Yoder (B)

    Assistants: Conrad Farnsworth (M), Amanda Jo Farnsworth (Q), Remington Bullis (M)

    Students: Carina Beebe, Garren Bryant, Rebecca Cazarin, Alyssa McGinnis, Asa O’Neal, Abigail Pendell, Joshua Taylor, Isabella Winegar

  • Physics Modeling for Game Design

    This project will focus on giving the students a basic understanding of object oriented software design using C++ for game development in Unreal Engine 4.

    By the end of the project students will be expected to know basic C++, be able to collaborate on software projects using industry standard version control platform ‘GitHub’, and be able to develop simple games using Unreal Engine 4. The ultimate goal of the project is for the students to produce a collaborative, multi-level game that showcases a custom, movement capable C++ class with realistic collision modeling.

    SNL Division: R&D

    Mentors: Skyler Valdez

    Students: Zoe Castle, William Coffey, Emilia Germain, Alex Jones, Zoe Leger, Alexa Pace, Dawson Wright

  • Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

    Robots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot.

    The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory.

    ORNL Division: Fusion Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentors: Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron, Adam Carroll

    Facilitators: Andy Rayfield and Curt Holmes

    Students: Alexander Davies, Jessy Gardner, Ethan Hurley, Brad Marion, Connor Mauro, Gianna Muto, Alexis Steelman, Greta Waitz

  • Spatial Power: Site Suitability Modelling for Smart Neighborhoods

    State-of-the-art home energy optimization has led to the development of smart neighborhoods and connected communities to better anticipate energy production and consumption. Smart communities consist of a collection of buildings that have been outfitted with solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, batteries, or grid-connective, energy-efficient building components to better manage energy consumption at the community level.

    Retrofitting existing building infrastructure is often cost prohibitive and construction of new infrastructure requires determining the optimal location. In this project, we’ll show how spatial modelling can be used by local governments and utility providers to develop intelligent infrastructure, with the siting of a smart neighborhood as an example case. This project will allow for the introduction of many core concepts underlying geographic information science, including spatial analysis and modeling, network analysis, and human environment interactions. We’ll introduce standard spatial data formats, common GIS tools, and basic open source data collection. At a high-level, this study will be conducted within the jurisdiction of the Tennessee Valley Authority; however, the level of detail and exact location will be determined by students’ abilities and interests.

    ORNL Division: National Security Emerging Technologies

    Mentors: Jessica Moehl and Jake McKee

    Facilitator: Loftin Gerberding

    Students: Hannah Allen, Lucas Epperson, India Fears, Jimmy Galloway, Maximilian Krier, Serena Lewis, Brendan Miller, Abigail Shaffer, Jasmine Swirski

Teacher Projects


  • Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Tools for Absorbed Radiation Dose Estimation in Humans

    Human exposure to either natural or occupational sources of ionizing radiation (IR) has become inevitable since IR is used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications.

    Exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions in human cells including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, DNA double strand break is the most lethal lesion which when mis-rejoined, results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) chromosomal aberrations. Since frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, they serve as biodosimeters for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory (CBL) at Oak Ridge, the dicentric chromosome assay is routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In addition to dicentric chromosomes, analysis of stable chromosomal translocations is also carried out at the CBL for retrospective biodosimetry on select individuals with a past radiation exposure history.

    Working in a virtual format this year, the CBL staff will teach the participants about basic radiation biology concepts along with the purpose and operational aspects of REAC/TS and the CBL. Participants will be trained to identify and score the frequency of ionizing radiation induced chromosome aberrations, particularly dicentric chromosomes, using the digital images obtained from previously processed human blood samples irradiated with different radiation doses. Additionally, the participants will be using data analytics to test and evaluate their ability in dicentric chromosome scoring by participating in the “Dicentric Challenge: Chromosome Scoring Game” on the ORISE website developed by the CBL and ORAU staff.

    Our main goal, as always, is to educate and train people in dicentric chromosome scoring for increasing the surge capacity of potential scorers that will likely augment CBL’s capacity in providing a rapid personalized radiation dose assessment to hundreds and thousands of people exposed during any radiological/nuclear mass casualty incident(s).

    ORNL Division: CBL, REAC/TS, ORISE, ORAU

    Mentor: Adayabalam S. Balajee

    Assistants: Terri Ryan, Maria Escalona

    Teachers: Jessica Cutlip, Chelsea Johnson, Brian Lewis, Nghia Nguyen, Jonathan Stephens, Barbara Waters

  • Evaluation of the Properties of Cross-Linked Polymers

    This research project, conducted in the homes of participant teachers, will provide participants with the opportunity to complete the processes required to conduct a research project.

    The project will examine cross-linked polymers. Specifically, cross-linking several substances using borate solutions to accomplish the cross-link. The prepared polymeric substances will exhibit gel properties that the group members will evaluate to form conclusions regarding variations in substance properties.

    ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences

    Mentor: M. Parans Paranthaman

    Facilitator: James R. Davis

    Teachers: Casey Bass, Randall Dunkin, Frank Kovscek, Brynna Ryle, Michele Verdi

  • Growing Greenhouse Tomatoes for Volatiles

    Teachers will assist with optimization of hydroponic tomato growth as part of a project with the goal of utilization of tomato volatiles for energy production.

    Tomatoes constitute the largest crop produced in greenhouses and other covered cultivation facilities. Like many plants, they naturally emit biogenic volatile organic compounds (BVOCs), which contribute to atmospheric organic aerosols and are expected to increase globally with temperature. Even at the local level, BVOCs from greenhouses, particularly those located in urban areas, contribute to air pollution issues. Instead of venting these BVOCs, they could be used to generate electricity through combustion by suitable catalysts to CO2 which would be taken up through photosynthesis by the plants. To provide preliminary data to support this concept, we will grow two different tomato varieties under various conditions, analyzing germination and growth rate, and estimate leaf volatile emission and leaf surface area.

    ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences

    Mentor: Barbara R. Evans

    Teachers: Miranda Carman, Brandon Gerwig, Emily Gunderson, Audrey Hamilton, James Hemminger, Carla Taylor


Past Institute Projects

  • View Teacher Projects

    2019 Student Projects

    • Climate Systems Science, Modeling, and Communication

      Climate systems science (CSS), holds unique challenges in both formal and informal educational settings. CSS is a multi-science at the crossroads of numerous fundamental sciences such as chemistry and physics, thus requiring special skills of its scientists, educators, and communicators. Furthermore, CSS is a socio-scientific topic and is therefore more than a science issue, precipitating vastly different social framings.

      The mentors for this workshop will guide participants in activities that will improve their understanding of the components and complexities of climate systems; the roles of experimentation, data collection, and modelling in CSS research; and design of effective public CSS communication.

      ORNL Division: Computational Science and Engineering Communications Office

      Mentors: Melissa Allen and Bill Cabbage

      Facilitator: Ross Toedte

      Students: Kobe Coggins, Desaree Decowski, Edward Humphrey, Emma Kephart, Daniel Maxwell, Makayla Shortt

      Climate Systems Science team
    • Designing Experimental Automation for Extreme Environments

      This project will explore the development of parameter controlling systems (temperature, gas flow rate, resistivity, etc.) for fundamental science experiments (e.g., thin film deposition, physical property measurement) based on low-cost, open-source microcontrollers.

      Experimental condensed matter physics and materials engineering often require the development of new methods of measuring fundamental properties of matter under extreme environments. Since it is often impossible to buy equipment capable of making the precise measurements needed under these conditions, the researcher must design and build his/her own experimental systems. This project will explore the development of parameter controlling systems (temperature, gas flow rate, resistivity, etc.) for fundamental science experiments (e.g., thin film deposition, physical property measurement) based on low-cost, open-source microcontrollers. Students will have hands-on experience in programming microcontrollers to monitor experimental parameters and to control these parameters using feedback loops. The devices built during this process will then be used in real experiments observing electron conduction characteristics of single crystal correlated oxide films in varied environments.

      ORNL Division: Materials Science and Technology

      Mentor: Dr. Zac Ward, Materials Science and Technology Division

      Assistants:Matt Brahlek, Liz Skoropata, Yogesh Sharma, Alessandro Mazza, Dustin Johnson

      Students: Holden Bullock, Lindsey Bush, Carrie Paris, Camden Woodie

      Designing Experimental Automation for Extreme Environments team
    • Printed Electronics for Low-Cost Sensors and Electronic Systems

      The project will expose students to a unique suite of capabilities and expertise at ORNL that are being utilized to accelerate low cost roll-to-roll processing into the production stream.

      Roll-to-roll (R2R) processing technology development efforts at ORNL are focused on next generation technologies that are scalable, economical, and practical. The opportunities enabled by low-cost R2R manufacturing of full-featured electronics range from medicine and biology to energy technology and space science. The project will expose students to a unique suite of capabilities and expertise at ORNL that are being utilized to accelerate low cost roll-to-roll processing into the production stream. With focus on flexible and printed electronics technology, the students will learn about a) the role of ink-based printing techniques for the fabrication of light-weight and low-cost sensors on flexible substrates, b) advanced thermal processing techniques to realize printed sensors on low temperature substrates, and c) how to take an idea from concept to manufacturing.

      ORNL Division: Materials Science and Technology

      Mentors: Pooran Joshi

      Assistant: Yongchao Yu

      Students: Jadyn Gardner, Sky Green, Elijah Hernandez-Jordan, Joel Roush

      Printed Electronics
    • Program a Supercomputer

      Fun with Supercomputers! The Supercomputer Team will learn about computer hardware, network architecture, and network hardware, and building a PC to use as a server.

      Fun with Supercomputers! The Supercomputer Team will learn about computer hardware, network architecture, and network hardware, and building a PC to use as a server. After constructing their own private network, the team will learn about Windows and Linux operating systems and then connect their computers to a real supercomputer housed at ORNL. Each team member will be able to write and run a script program on the supercomputer.

      ORNL Division: Joint Institute for Computational Science

      Mentor: Bobby Whitten

      Facilitator: Jerry Sherrod

      Students: Delaney Blankenship, Noah Burnette, David Klinepeter, Michael Kreiss, Katie Krull, Jeanay Luines, Katryna Williams, Wade Wolfer

      Program a Supercomputer
    • Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

      Robots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot.

      Robots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot. The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory. Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing. The students will also program an actual FANUC Robot arm used in Manufacturing.

      ORNL Division: Fusion Materials for Nuclear Systems

      Mentors: Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron, Adam Carroll

      Facilitators: Andy Rayfield and Curt Holmes

      Students: Isaac Austin, Cody Ferguson, Julie Harris, Anabell Hawkins, Evan Lewis, Hannah Phillips, Ellie Pisula, Anabeth Sharpe, Cory Schwarze, Keegan Torres

      robotics team
    • Spatial Education: Where Should We Build Tomorrow’s Schools?

      In this project, we’ll show how estimates of future populations can be used by local governments to plan new infrastructure, with the siting of a future school as an example case. This project will allow for the introduction of many core concepts underlying geographic information science, including spatial analysis and modeling, network analysis, and +human environment interactions.

      High resolution population modeling is a key element in situational awareness planning from measuring the impacts of natural hazards such as hurricanes and sea level rise, to modeling the site suitability for the potential development of new locations of businesses, parks, power plants, and even schools. In this project, we’ll show how estimates of future populations can be used by local governments to plan new infrastructure, with the siting of a future school as an example case. This project will allow for the introduction of many core concepts underlying geographic information science, including spatial analysis and modeling, network analysis, and +human environment interactions. We’ll introduce standard spatial data formats, common GIS tools, and basic open source data collection. Specific study area and level of detail will be determined by students’ abilities and school district location(s).

      ORNL Division: National Security Emerging Technologies

      Mentors: Jessica Moehl and Jake McKee

      Facilitator: Loftin Gerberding

      Students: Easton Ball, Jacob Conrad, James Jackson, Sean Moren

      Spatial Education

    Teacher Projects

    • Biomolecular Simulations to Understand Protein Folding/Unfolding Equilibria and Protein-Drug Interactions

      The visiting group will be introduced to basic concepts of molecular dynamics simulations for small peptides.

      The visiting group will be introduced to basic concepts of molecular dynamics simulations for small peptides. The folding/unfolding thermal equilibria for peptides will be studied by performing molecular dynamics (MD) simulations at ambient conditions and at very high temperatures to induce thermal unfolding. This will be demonstrated using two peptides with different secondary structure: Trpzip4 (16 residues) which has a beta-sheet structure and alpha-helical Trp-cage (20 residues). MD simulations will be performed using QwikMD plugin that is implemented in VMD (Visual Molecular Dynamics). The MD simulation trajectories will be visualized and analyzed in VMD and structure-based quantities such as radius of gyration and root mean square deviations will be calculated to understand folding/unfolding behavior. For proteins and peptides with no available crystal structure, the concept of homology modeling will be introduced. The homology modeling will be performed using SWISSMODEL, a web-based tool with graphical user interface (GUI). As a case study, ABL kinase (260 residues) will be used. To study the interaction between ABL kinase and small molecule drug, step-wise demonstration of homology modeling, docking, and MD simulations will be performed. Molecular docking software predict the preferred orientation and the binding affinity of one molecule to a second when bound to each other. Researchers employ docking to find suitable candidates for creating new drugs. In this workshop, we will demonstrate a simple way to perform molecular docking by using web-based docking tool, SWISSDOCK. All the softwares can be run on personal laptops.

      ORNL Division:  Biosciences

      Mentor:  Jeremy Smith

      Facilitator: Brian Hingerty

      Assistants: Madhulika Gupta, Shawn Shen, Yead Jewel, Zhongyou Mou

      Teachers:  Nikki Hudspeth, Johnna Towsey, David Wehunt

      Biomolecular Simulations
    • Computational Investigation of the Monte Carlo Method for Shielding Optimization and Tally Statistics

      This project will bring together concepts of nuclear physics, applied math/statistics, and computer science.

      This project will bring together concepts of nuclear physics, applied math/statistics, and computer science. A simple 1-D Monte Carlo neutron transport code will be used to investigate two basic research questions. First, when solving the Boltzman radiation transport equation using the Monte Carlo method, are batch statistics or history statistics better for dose tallies? Second, what shielding configuration is optimal for reducing radiation dose rate? Both of these questions will be answered by performing shielding optimization on a simple neutron transport problem using Python and Jupyter Notebooks with the 1-D Monte Carlo code mentioned above. Although simple, these research questions show how computational methods are used for nuclear engineering and will give insight into which statistical methods are better for tallies as the nuclear research community moves toward solving very large problems with cutting-edge high-performance supercomputers that take advantage of new GPU architectures.

      ORNL Division: Reactor and Nuclear Systems

      Mentor:  Tara Pandya

      Assistants:  Thomas Evans, Elliott Biondo, Katherine Royston, Gregory Davidson, Seth Johnson, Steven Hamilton

      Teachers:  Kayla Bruening, David Burkhart, Rebecca Rosas

      Computational Investigation
    • Investigation of Cell Wall Structure to Improve Biofuel Production

      Teachers will help produce and characterize biomass from switchgrass and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls.

      Teachers will help produce and characterize biomass from switchgrass and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls. The project goal is to find better, faster ways to obtain biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthetic biomass. Switchgrass mutants with specific changes to cell wall components lignin and cellulose are studied for development of better biofuel feed stocks. Algae are being investigated as sources of deuterated cellulose and other polysaccharides for structural studies. Plants and algae are produced under controlled lab conditions to obtain deuterium-labeled biomass samples for neutron scattering and NMR experiments. Labeling with deuterium, the naturally occurring, stable heavy isotope of hydrogen, is a standard method for neutron scattering, NMR, and kinetic research. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of grasses and algae for these structural studies. Light microscopy will be used to examine cellular structure at the micrometer level. Photosynthetic activity will be evaluated by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

      ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences

      Mentor: Barbara R. Evans

      Teachers:  Lisa Fry, Fatemia Fuson, Shelly Nixon, Michael Reibson

      Investigation of Cell Wall Structure to Improve Biofuel Production
    • Optimization of Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Tools for Estimating Absorbed Radiation Dose in Humans

      In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of different chromosomal aberrations in lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to optimize the laboratory conditions for the preparation of high quality metaphase chromosome spreads using a state of the art HANABI-PV Metaphase Auto-Spreader Mini.

      Human exposure to either natural or occupational sources of ionizing radiation (IR) has become inevitable since IR is being used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications. Exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions in human cells including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most lethal lesion, which when mis-rejoined, results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) chromosomal aberrations. Since frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, they serve as biodosimeters for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory at Oak Ridge, dicentric chromosome assays is routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of different chromosomal aberrations in lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to optimize the laboratory conditions for the preparation of high quality metaphase chromosome spreads using a state of the art HANABI-PV Metaphase Auto-Spreader Mini. Temperature, humidity and airflow settings will be investigated, adjusted and optimized thus ensuring that when chromosomes are dropped and spread on microscope slides, they are dried in a consistent and reproducible manner. Our main objective is to optimize automation of chromosome preparation process facilitating the yield of high quality of chromosome spreads for automated dicentric chromosome analysis. The chromosome spreading process for radiation dose assessment of human blood samples will thus become more streamlined and consistent for high throughput analysis platforms. Comparison of automated and manual dicentric scoring using FISH techniques will be performed concurrently using the Metafer DCScore algorithm. Our main goal, as always, is to educate and train people in dicentric chromosome scoring for increasing the surge capacity of potential scorers that will likely constitute an effective emergency triage tool to provide personalized radiation dose assessment to hundreds and thousands of people who are likely to get exposed during radiological/nuclear mass casualty incident(s).

      ORNL Division: CBL, REACTS, ORISE

      Mentor: Adayabalam S. Balajee

      Assistants: Terri Ryan, Maria Escalona, Tammy Smith

      Teachers:  Roy Jameson, Meredith Spano, Carey Wilson

      Cytogenetic Biodosimetry Tools
    • 3D Printing of High Performance Magnets

      This project is focused on the additive manufacturing techniques to print magnets with complex size and shape.

      This research project will be conducted in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Materials Chemistry Group and is designed to allow participants to better understand processes required to conduct a research project on 3D printing of magnets. The teachers will experience the multifaceted levels of conducting research. They will be given a research assignment and work with a research scientist to understand the required background, processes, and safety procedures. Along with learning to apply many scientific concepts to a real-world problem, they will learn laboratory skills which will enrich and enhance their teaching when they return to their classrooms. In addition, during the two-week program, the teachers will meet other researchers within the Group and Laboratory community and learn about other ORNL projects.

      ORNL Division: Chemical Sciences

      Mentor:  M. Parans Paranthaman

      Facilitator:  Jim Davis

      Teachers:  Lisa Castle, Brittany Cohen, James Kupetz

      3D Printing of High Performance Magnets
  • View Teacher Projects


    Student Projects


    Introduction to data visualization

    data visualization teamA simple hand-on and walk through to build a visual analytic based interface using some existing computing packages. Hopefully we get to develop a dashboard to visual/analyze U.S. Census / ACS data. This is for several reasons.

    1. Census data is something that the students would already know a little bit about, so I think it is interesting to them
    2. All of the pieces that are needed already exist; we will use Shiny Widgets and R programming language for this

    PAS input person for your Division:   Lisa Gorman

    ORNL Division:  Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

    Mentor:  Dr Dalton D. Lunga

    Facilitator:  Loftin Gerberding

    Students:  Maegan Adolph, Mariah Bolden, Colton Briand, Shay Snyder

    Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

    Robotics teamRobots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot.  The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot.  The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch).  The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory.  Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing.  The students will also program an actual FANUC Robot arm used in Manufacturing.

    PAS Input Person:   Kishia Boyd

    ORNL Division:  Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentors:  Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

    Facilitators:  Andy Rayfield and James Burns

    Students:  Alexander Bowman, Roger Dixon, Andrew Gatesman, Tiana Gold, Baxter Hostetler, Allyssa Ippolito, Kameron McGriff, Mabry Watson

    Climate Systems Science, Modeling, and Communication

    Climate teamClimate systems science (CSS), holds unique challenges in both formal and informal educational settings. CSS is a multi-science at the crossroads of numerous fundamental sciences such as chemistry and physics, thus requiring special skills of its scientists, educators, and communicators. Furthermore, CSS is a socio-scientific topic and is therefore more than a science issue, precipitating vastly different social framings.

    The mentors for this workshop will guide participants in activities that will improve their understanding of the components and complexities of climate systems; the roles of experimentation, data collection, and modelling in CSS research; and design of effective public CSS communication.

     

    ORNL Division:  Computational Science and Engineering Division; Communications Office

    Mentors:  Melissa Allen, Bill Cabage

    Facilitator:  Ross J. Toedte

    Students:  Noah Aiken, Noelle Beswick, Jacob Lord, Kara Williams

    Build a Supercomputer

    Supercomputer teamFun with Supercomputers! The Supercomputer Team will learn about computer hardware, network architecture, and network hardware, and building a PC to use as a server. After constructing their own private network, the team will learn about Windows and Linux operating systems and then connect their computers to a real supercomputer housed at ORNL. Each team member will be able to write and run a script program on the supercomputer.

    Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

    Mentor:  Bobby Whitten

    Facilitator:  Jerry Sherrod

    Assistants:  Paul Davis and Jessica Boyd

    Students:  Lia Evans, Anna Lee, Hannah Little, Eirinn Mangan, Samuel McCullah, James Meyers, Dakota Tiller, Ashley Walker

    Fiber-Optic Interferometer and its Application to Sensing

    Fiber optic teamIn this project, the participants will study the principle of optical interferometer and build a Mach-Zehnder interferometer using optical fibers. Experiments on light interference with different type of light sources will be conducted. As an example of sensing applications, the fiber-optic interferometer will be used to measure the amplitude and frequency of a vibrating object. Through the project, the participants are expected to gain the basic knowledge of light interference, light transmission through optical fibers, light detection, property of laser, as well as the skill of data acquisition and data processing in a computer.

    ORNL Division:  Research Accelerator Division

    Mentor:  Yun Liu

    Assistants:  Dylan Smith, Bing Qi

    Students:  Nicholas Craven, Reilly McDowell, Autumn Peck, Elyssa Yonta

    Designing Experimental Automation for Extreme Environments

    Experimental systems teamExperimental condensed matter physics and materials engineering often require the development of new methods of measuring fundamental properties of matter under extreme environments. Since it is often impossible to buy equipment capable of making the precise measurements needed under these conditions, the researcher must design and build his/her own experimental systems.  This project will explore the development of parameter controlling systems (temperature, gas flow rate, resistivity, etc.) for fundamental science experiments (e.g., thin film deposition, physical property measurement) based on low-cost, open-source microcontrollers. Students will have hands-on experience in programming microcontrollers to monitor experimental parameters and to control these parameters using feedback loops. The devices built during this process will then be used in real experiments observing electron conduction characteristics of single crystal correlated oxide films in varied environments.

    PAS input person for your Division:   Teresa Roe

    ORNL Division:  Materials Science and Technology Division

    Mentor:  Zac Ward

    Assistants:  Qiyang Lu, Liz Skoropata, Changhee Sohn, Yogesh Sharma

    Students:  A’Shauna Howell, Destiny Hughes, Trenton Teague, Tyler Wade

    Printed Electronics for low-cost Sensors and Electronic Systems

    printed electronics team Roll-to-roll (R2R) processing technology development efforts at ORNL are focused on next generation technologies that are scalable, economical, and practical. The opportunities enabled by low-cost R2R manufacturing of full-featured electronics range from medicine and biology to energy technology and space science. The project will expose students to a unique suite of capabilities and expertise at ORNL that are being utilized to accelerate low cost roll-to-roll processing into the production stream. With focus on flexible and printed electronics technology, the students will learn about a) the role of ink-based printing techniques for the fabrication of light-weight and low-cost sensors on flexible substrates, b) advanced thermal processing techniques to realize printed sensors on low temperature substrates, and c) how to take an idea from concept to manufacturing.

    ORNL Division:  Materials Science & Technology Division

    Mentor:  Pooran Joshi

    Assistant:  Yongchao Yu

    Students:  Shane Bays, Cierah Manross, Zackery Reynolds, Mercedes Snyder


    Teacher Projects

    3D Printing of High Performance Magnets

    3d PrintingThis project is focused on the additive manufacturing techniques to print magnets with complex size and shape. Big Area Additively Manufactured (BAAM) NdFeB bonded magnets with performance comparable to, or better than, magnets of the same composition made using traditional injection molding. Magnetic properties will be measured. Additive manufacturing can now be applied for a wide range of magnetic materials and assemblies. We will review all the additive printing techniques that are suitable for fabricating bonded magnets. This work is supported by the Critical Materials Institute, an Energy Innovation Hub funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Advanced Manufacturing Office.

    ORNL Division:

    Mentor:  Parans Paranthaman

    Facilitator:  Jim Davis

    Teachers:  Dana Hallyburton, John Swanson, Paul Scott

    Introduction to homology modeling of small peptides and observation of their folding/unfolding behavior using molecular dynamics simulations

    homology modeling teamThe visiting group will be introduced to predicting 3D structures of small peptides via template- based homology modeling which will be followed by molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to observe the predicted structure evolve over time. To demonstrate the folding/unfolding structure of peptides, MD simulations will be performed at ambient conditions and at a very high temperature, where thermally induced quick unfolding can be achieved. The fundamentals of homology modeling and MD simulations will be discussed in brief. As a case study, we will utilize two small peptides –  a beta hairpin having a known crystal structure and (AAQAA)3 - a disordered peptide. The homology modeling will be performed using graphical interface-based web-server, SWISSMODEL and MD simulations will be carried out using QwikMD plugin that is implemented in Visual Molecular dynamics (VMD) program package and can be run on personal laptops. The MD simulation trajectories will be visualized and analyzed in VMD with the calculation of structure-based quantities such as radius of gyration and dynamical properties such as the making and breaking of hydrogen bonds to allow for a physical interpretation of the peptide structure and its folding/unfolding behavior. This project, while previously computationally demanding, can now be performed on desktop and laptop computers at the high school level due to advances in MD simulation software implementation as well as processor speed, and as such, the work performed here is directly transferable to the classroom.

    ORNL Division:  Bioscience

    Mentor:  Jeremy Smith

    Assistants:  Michelle Aranha, Utsab Shrestha, Deepa Devarajan, and Sarah Cooper

    Teachers:  Karan Linkous, Raymona Pedigo, Adam Steininger

    Use of molecular cytogenetic tools for the assessment of absorbed radiation dose in humans

    Cytogenetic team
    • Dicentric chromosome analysis for ionizing radiation dose assessment
    • Use of fluorescence   in situ  hybridization (FISH) for retrospective biodosimetry
    • Micronuclei analysis for radiation dose assessment and for prediction of inherent genomic instability in humans
    • Analysis of neutrophil alterations for detecting   in vivoradiation exposure
    • G2-PCC assay for estimating radiation dose after acute exposure

    Summary description of project

    Human exposure to either natural or occupational sources of ionizing radiation (IR) has become inevitable since IR is being used in a wide variety of industrial and medical applications. Exposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions in human cells including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most lethal lesion, which when mis-rejoined, results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) chromosomal aberrations. Since the frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, they serve as biodosimeters for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory at Oak Ridge, micronucleus and dicentric chromosome assays are being routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of different chromosomal aberrations in blinded lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to analyze genome-wide distribution of IR induced symmetrical chromosomal aberrations (translocations) using the state of the art technique, multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH). Translocations are stable exchanges between different chromosomes that have the potential to drive cancer development processes. Our main goal is to educate and train people in dicentric chromosome scoring which will increase the surge capacity of potential scorers in case a large number of samples are to be analyzed after radiological or nuclear mass casualty incidents where hundreds and thousands of people are likely to get radiation exposure.

    ORNL Division:  CBL, REACTS, ORISE

    Mentor:  Adayabalam S. Balajee

    Assistants:  Maria Escalona and Terry Ryan

    Teachers:  Michael Adam, Kristy Garlitz, Christy Hall, Michelle Polcaro

    Investigation of lignocellulosic biomass structure

    biomass teamTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls.  The project goal is to find better, faster ways to obtain biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthetic biomass. Plants are produced under controlled lab conditions to obtain deuterium-labeled biomass samples for neutron scattering and NMR experiments. Labeling with deuterium, the naturally occurring, stable heavy isotope of hydrogen, is a standard method for neutron scattering, NMR, and kinetic research. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of trees, duckweed, and grasses for these structural studies.  Light microscopy will be used to examine cellular structure at the micrometer level. Photosynthetic activity will be evaluated by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences Division

    Mentor:  Barbara R. Evans

    Teachers:  Mary Coulter, John Fisher, Barbi Vena, Kristina Rogers

  • View Teacher Projects


    Student Projects


    KBase: Systems Biology Knowledgebase – Bioenergy Crops

    Kbase groupKBase is an integrated software and data platform designed to meet the grand challenge of systems biology – predicting and designing biological function on a range of scales, from the biomolecular to the ecological. Users can perform large-scale analyses and combine multiple lines of evidence to model plant and microbial physiology and community dynamics.

    The students will study a set of microbes that have been sequenced and uploaded into KBase. The idea will be to map out particular pathways of interest, document all of the pathways, and map which exist in which microbe. We will then see what is possibly predicted and could be validated by inspection. In particular Poplar trees will be studied which is a focused Bioenergy crop.

    The students will use KBase to accomplish the objective, learn biology and the use of KBase and provide feedback on the use of KBase to the mentors. The students will also tour a Greenhouse where a Poplar tree is growing and visit a microscopy lab.

    ORNL Division:  Biosciences Division

    Mentors:  Bob Cottingham and Ben Allen

    Facilitator:  Brian Hingerty

    Assistants:  Meghan Drake, Dan Jacobson, Jenny Morrell-Falvey, Dale Pelletier

    Students:  Molly Mallicoat, Haythi Myint, Victoria Mitchem, Sharee Riggs, Lydia Sexton, Blaize Stumbo

    Smart thermochromic Windows

    Smart thermochromic Windows groupThis project will explore the principle of smart windows via thermochromic effect, which dynamically control the amount of light transmission in response to outdoor temperature and solar radiation. A simple photodetector will be fabricated to measure the change in transmittance through a smart window upon exposed to a heat source. Vanadium dioxide thin film coated glass, which undergoes an insulator-to-metal transition (IMT) upon heating near room temperature will be used as a smart window. The IMT behavior will be utilized to adjust tinting with window surface temperature, and the photodetector fabricated will be used to measure the light transmittance change upon IMT.

    ORNL Division:  Materials Science and Technology Division

    Mentor:  Honyung Lee

    Assistants:  Zac Ward, Amanda Huon, Changhee Sohn, Ryan Destales, Yogesh Sharma, John Nichols

    Students:  Molly Campbell, Martuise Hansbury, Carter Smith, Christopher Towery

    Introduction to Visualization

    Visualization GroupThis project is a hands-on walk through to build a visual analytic based interface using some existing computing packages. We will develop a dashboard to visual/analyze U.S. Census / ACS data. We will use Shiny Widgets and R programming language for this.

    ORNL Division:  Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

    Mentor:  Dr. Dalton D. Lunga

    Facilitator:  Loftin Gerberding

    Students:  Jared Clemons, Caegan Huffman, Dexton Jones, Carltavion Lathan

    Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

    Robotic Systems groupRobots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot. The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory. Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing. The students will also program an actual FANUC Robot arm used in Manufacturing.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentors:  Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

    Facilitators:  Andy Rayfield and James Burns

    Students:  Daniel Bohl, Joseph Coffey, Gabriella Fye, Kaitlyn Griffin, Elizabeth Krizmanich, Kiarra McCloud

    Introduction to High Altitude Ballooning

    Ballooning Group ShotStudents will learn about High Altitude Ballooning! In this class, we will learn why we send balloons into the stratosphere and what we can learn from them. Students will learn what a payload is and how to build one along with the necessary tools involved. In the second week, students will be launching a balloon at Pellissippi State Community College where they will learn to setup and launch a balloon into the stratosphere! We will also learn how to run simulations determining where the balloon lands and how to retrieve them. Lastly, we will go over how the students can start their own balloon project or club in their local school and communities.

    Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

    Mentor:  Robert Whitten

    Facilitator:  Nick Csercsevitz

    Assistants:  Sarah Graham and Seth Giles

    Students:  Marissa Brown, Ben Culp, Isaac Fugate, Jared Wilson, Joseph Woods

    Build a Supercomputer

    Build a Supercomputer Group shotStudents will build a supercomputer! Well, almost. Supercomputers typically use thousands of processors running in parallel to solve problems in science, finance, and other areas. They will build a smaller supercomputer to gain insight and understanding in how supercomputers are organized and then how to program them. Students will build and use software to configure a Beowulf cluster using ordinary computers. Areas that will be covered during this project are:

    • Computing basics
    • Computer networking
    • Linux operating system
    • Computer programming

    Students will be required to answer the research question: "In what year would the supercomputer we build be considered the world's fastest supercomputer?"

    Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

    Mentor:  Robert Whitten

    Facilitator:  Jerry Sherrod

    Assistants:  Paul Davis and Jessica Boyd

    Students:  Lilyanna Cope, Anna Cristini, Donald Hansbury, Langdon Messer, Shawn Sexton, Laramie Toliver, Leeanne Williams


    Teacher Projects

    Use of molecular cytogenetic tools for the assessment of ionizing radiation induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes

    Molecular group shotExposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most critical lesion, which when mis-repaired or mis-rejoined results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) aberrations. Since the frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, these aberrations are being used to predict the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory at Oak Ridge, micronucleus and dicentric chromosome assays are being routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of dicentric chromosomes in blinded lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to analyze genome-wide distribution of IR induced symmetrical chromosomal aberrations (translocations) using the state of the art technique, multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH). Translocations are stable exchanges between different chromosomes that have the potential to drive cancer development processes. Our main goal is to increase the surge capacity of cytogenetic scorers to meet the requirements of radiation/nuclear mass casualty events where tens and thousands of blood samples need to be analyzed for radiation dose assessment.

    ORNL Division:  CBL, REACTS, ORISE

    Mentor:  Adayabalam S. Balajee

    Assistant:  Maria Escalona

    Teachers:  Lisa Bircher, James Colbert, Bridget Kennedy, Barb Melby, Debbie Potter

    Investigation of Biomass Structure to Improve Biofuels

    Biofuels GroupTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls. The project goal is to find better, faster ways to obtain biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthetic biomass. Algae and plants are produced under controlled lab conditions to obtain deuterium-labeled biomass samples for neutron scattering and NMR experiments. Labeling with deuterium, the naturally occurring, stable heavy isotope of hydrogen, is a standard method for neutron scattering, NMR, and kinetic research. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of trees, algae, duckweed, and grasses for these structural studies. Light microscopy will be used to examine cellular structure at the micrometer level. Photosynthetic activity will be evaluated by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences Division

    Mentor:  Barbara R. Evans

    Teachers:  Freddie Napier, Kelly Russo, Bonnie Sansenbaugher

    Synthesis of Novel Lithium Fluoride- Europium - doped: Calcium Fluoride Scintillators for Neutron Detection

    group shotThis research project will be conducted in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Materials Chemistry Group and is designed to allow participants to better understand processes required to conduct a research project on scintillators for neutron detection. The teachers will experience the multifaceted levels of conducting research. They will be given a research assignment and work with a research scientist to understand the required background, processes, and safety procedures. Along with learning to apply many scientific concepts to a real-world problem, they will learn laboratory skills which will enrich and enhance their teaching when they return to their classrooms. In addition, during the two-week program, the teachers will meet other researchers within the Group and Laboratory community and learn about other ORNL projects.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences

    Mentor:  M. Parans Paranthaman

    Facilitator:  Jim Davis

    Teachers:  Tracy Barnett, Don Kress, Paul McIntyre, Scott Wilson

    Introduction to Molecular Dynamics Simulations for Proteins and Protein Folding/Unfolding

    group shotIn the time frame available the group will visualize crystal structure of the Ubiquitin protein and run molecular dynamics simulations (MD) to relax the structure. Following brief introduction, two additional simulations will be performed. These additional simulations will include: 1) a short steered-MD simulation of the folding and unfolding of the de novo peptide Chignolin, and 2) a high-temperature unfolding simulation of Chignolin and/or Ubiquitin. Analysis of the MD trajectories generated from the unfolding/folding simulations of Chignolin will then be performed using a special interface to the VMD software package, specifically designed for high-school students (VMDlite), and simple python scripts. This project, while previously computationally demanding, can now be performed on desktop and laptop computers at the high school level due to advances in MD simulation software implementation and computer power, and as such the work performed here can be directly transferable to the classroom.

    ORNL Division:  Biosciences

    Mentor:  Jeremy Smith

    Assistants:  Adam Green, John Eblen, Rupesh Agarwal, and Micholas Smith

    Teachers:  Anthony Canestaro, Larry Cook, Ken Craig, Jim Taylor

  • View Teacher Projects

    Student Projects


    Measuring the force and energy imparted by a high heat flux plasma

    Biewer groupThe Prototype Material Plasma Exposure Experiment (Proto-MPEX) is a linear, magnetically confined plasma production device, utilizing a helicon antenna. The plasma column interacts with a material target at the end of the device, creating plasma-material interaction conditions that are relevant to the conditions that are expected in future fusion reactors. Moreover, helicon antenna plasma sources have been proposed as propulsion devices for spacecraft.

    It has been observed that in some circumstances the Proto-MPEX plasma exerts sufficient force on the target plate to cause the target to move/recoil. The ARC students will help devise and implement a ballistic target/probe which will be inserted into the plasma. The probe response will be calibrated by the students prior to insertion, using scales, thermocouples, accelerometers, and fast camera imaging. The project will culminate by inserting the ballistic probe into Proto-MPEX plasmas and measuring the force that is exerted on it, as a function of the helicon power of the plasma.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion & Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentor:  Theodore Biewer

    Assistants:  Guin Shaw, Holly Ray, and Missy Showers

    Students:  Caleb Cantrell, Jared Klemm, Alex Musick, Garett Nunley, Jennifer Salazar Sanchez, Daisy Sawyer

    Magnetic levitation

    Lee groupThis project will explore the principle of magnetic levitation, which utilizes magnetic fields to suspend an object in the air supporting materials to withstand the gravitational force. Assembly of a magnetic rail will be conducted to explore the magnetic levitation phenomenon with an oxide-based high Tc superconductor.

    ORNL Division:  Materials Science and Technology Division

    Mentor:  Ho Nyung Lee

    Assistants:  Zac Ward, Tony Wong, John Nichols, and Ryan Desautels

    Students:  Cole Brewer, Patrick Lawson, Jade Noah, Lexie Paxton

    Introduction to Visualization

    Lunga groupA simple hand-on and walk through to build a visual analytic based interface using some existing computing packages. We will develop a dashboard to visual/analyze U.S. Census / ACS data.

    ORNL Division:  Computational Sciences and Engineering Division

    Mentor:  Dalton D. Lunga

    Students:  Austin Herman, Derek Hutchinson, Austin Selman, Christian Sharpe

    Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

    Varma groupRobots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot. The students will work in four groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL's Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot's trajectory. Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing. The students will also program an actual FANUC Robot arm used in Manufacturing.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentors:  Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

    Facilitators:  Carl Mallette and Andy Rayfield

    Students:  Tanner Bailey, Jarrett Bostic, Corey Bray, Tristin Brewer, Bryan Epperson, Niah Ingram, Amber Johnson, Alijah Lawson, Andrea Morgan, Gavin Nelson, Joe Palmateer, Ally Will

    Build a Supercomputer

    whitten groupStudents will build a supercomputer! Well, almost. Supercomputers typically use thousands of processors running in parallel to solve problems in science, finance, and other areas. They will build a smaller supercomputer to gain insight and understanding in how supercomputers are organized and then how to program them. Students will build and use software to configure a Beowulf cluster using ordinary computers. Areas that will be covered during this project are:

    • Computing basics
    • Computer networking
    • Linux operating system
    • Computer programming

    Project review and summary

    Students will be required to answer the research question: "In what year would the supercomputer we build be considered the world's fastest supercomputer?" Students will be given classroom-style lectures in addition to hands-on assignment to enforce topics discussed.

    Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

    Mentor:  Robert Whitten

    Facilitator:  Jerry Sherrod

    Assistants:  Nick Csercsevits and Clinton Carbonell

    Students:  Andrea Jordan, Nichole Moore, Rob Perry, II, Alaric Scott, Winter Sparacin, Chaz Weeks, Rachel Yoe, Christian York


    Teacher Projects


    Use of cytogenetic tools for the assessment of ionizing radiation induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes

    Balajee groupExposure to ionizing radiation (IR) induces a wide spectrum of DNA lesions including DNA single strand breaks, double strand breaks, oxidative DNA damage and DNA-protein crosslinks. Among them, double strand break (DSB) is the most critical lesion, which when mis-repaired or mis-rejoined results in the formation of asymmetrical (dicentric chromosomes and rings) and symmetrical (translocations) aberrations. Since the frequencies of different chromosomal aberrations correlate with radiation dose, these aberrations are being used to predict the absorbed radiation dose in humans. At the Cytogenetics Biodosimetry Laboratory at Oak Ridge, micronucleus and dicentric chromosome assays are being routinely used for estimating the absorbed radiation dose in the peripheral blood lymphocytes of humans after accidental or occupational exposures. In the current project, teachers will be trained to recognize and score the frequency of dicentric chromosomes in blinded lymphocyte samples irradiated with different doses of gamma rays. Additionally, teachers will participate in a project that is aimed to analyze genome-wide distribution of IR induced symmetrical chromosomal aberrations (translocations) using the state of the art technique, multicolor fluorescence in situ hybridization (M-FISH). Translocations are stable exchanges between different chromosomes that have the potential to drive cancer development processes. Our main goal is to increase the surge capacity of cytogenetic scorers to meet the requirements of radiation/nuclear mass casualty events where tens and thousands of blood samples need to be analyzed for radiation dose assessment.

    ORAU Division:  CBL, REACTS, ORISE

    Mentor:  Adayabalam S. Balajee

    Assistant:  Maria Escalona

    Teachers:  Julie Asiello, Laura Banks, Leah Carmichael, Chris Hudson, Amy Raught

    Investigation of Biomass Structure to Improve Biofuels

    Evans groupTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls. The project goal is to find better, faster ways to obtain biofuels and bioproducts from photosynthetic biomass. Algae and plants are produced under controlled lab conditions to obtain deuterium-labeled biomass samples for neutron scattering and NMR experiments. Labeling with deuterium, the naturally occurring, stable heavy isotope of hydrogen, is a standard method for neutron scattering, NMR, and kinetic research. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of trees, algae, duckweed, and grasses for these structural studies. Light microscopy will be used to examine cellular structure at the micrometer level. Photosynthetic activity will be evaluated by measuring chlorophyll fluorescence, carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences Division

    Mentors:  Barbara R. Evans

    Teachers:  Jamie Bartholomew, Danielle Lee, Jeremy Pease, Kate Zakrzewski

    Synthesis of Novel Lithium Fluoride- Europium - doped: Calcium Fluoride Scintillators for Neutron Detection

    Parans groupThis research project will be conducted in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Materials Chemistry Group and is designed to allow participants to better understand processes required to conduct a research project on scintillators for neutron detection. The teachers will experience the multifaceted levels of conducting research. They will be given a research assignment and work with a research scientist to understand the required background, processes, and safety procedures. Along with learning to apply many scientific concepts to a real-world problem, they will learn laboratory skills which will enrich and enhance their teaching when they return to their classrooms. In addition, during the two-week program, the teachers will meet other researchers within the Group and Laboratory community and learn about other ORNL projects.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences Division

    Mentor:  M. Parans Paranthaman

    Facilitator:  James R. Davis

    Teachers:  Annette Gillespie, Ashley Gilomen, Sarah Johnson, Stephanie Kimberlin

    Crystal Structure of the Protein Lysozyme followed by a Molecular Dynamics Simulation

    Smith and Meilleur groupThe group will crystallize the protein lysozyme, collect x-ray diffraction data, solve the crystal structure and run a molecular dynamics (MD) computer simulation. Crystallography gives a static picture while MD reveals the protein dynamics. We will use off the shelf grocery store products to crystallize lysozyme. The UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics will assist our group in setting up an MDS or molecular dynamics simulation. Our group will then be able to take the experiment back to their classrooms. This project, while very advanced a short time ago, can now be performed at the high school level due to advances in current technologies and computer power.

    ORNL Division:  Neutron Sciences Directorate and UT/ORNL Center for Molecular Biophysics

    Mentors:  Flora Meilleur and Jeremy Smith

    Facilitator:Brian Hingerty

    Assistants:  Hector Velazquez, John Eblen and Adam Green

    Teachers:  Rebekah Durham, Alaina Kilpatrick, Darlene Rutledge, Neil Snedeker

  • View Teacher Projects

    Student Projects


    Application of Diagnostic Techniques for Measurements on the Prototype-Material Plasma Exposure Experiment (PROTO-MPEX)

    Proto-MPEX TeamProto-MPEX is a linear device that uses magnetic fields to confine plasmas and direct them onto material targets, simulating conditions that will be found in future fusion reactors. The students will be introduced to a variety of techniques which are used to make measurements from plasma discharges, including survey spectroscopy, Doppler spectroscopy, filter spectroscopy, infra-red imaging, thermocouples, visible camera imaging, and probes. Students will examine data from computer terminals, both from a data archive and live, as the Proto-MPEX device operates. Students will assemble a database of measurements and look for trends.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion & Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentor:  Theodore Biewer

    Students:  KC Baldwin, Jackson Crouse Powers, Randi Hardin, Sylas Johnson, Ava McCleese

    Uniformity of Thermal Aging of I&C Cable Insulation in Current Nuclear Power Plants

    Thermal Aging TeamFor the aging fleet of nuclear reactors providing power in the US, license renewal is an important step toward extending the operating lifetime of these reactors. However in order to gain approval from the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission, each reactor must demonstrate knowledge through modeling and validations that the infrastructure will continue to operate safely. The cable insulation in instrument and control (I&C) and power cables is an issue that requires cable aging data on existing insulations that are harvested from reactors and models to project performance out to a 60 to 80 year operating lifetime. This project would involve the electrical and mechanical characterization of cable insulation samples that have been exposed to thermal aging. Several different cable samples will be exposed to air at different temperatures between 60 ̊C to 120 ̊C and the jacket and insulation materials of these cables will be evaluated in order to determine the effectiveness of a cable indenter to detect material changes along the length. This information will be part of an effort to build an effective knowledge base for use by those in the nuclear reactor operator community as well as the NRC, DOE, and EPRI.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division

    Mentor:  Robert Duckworth

    Students:  Nicole Broyhill, Dylan Crean, Nona Davis, Noah Taylor

    Design of Novel Polymeric Materials Using Computer Simulation

    Polymeric Materials TeamMacromolecules often self-assemble to form natural materials like protein, DNA and also commercial materials like rubber. It is well known that the particles of macromolecules follow Newtonian mechanics at a classical level, i.e., they follow F=ma. Therefore, if we know the force acting on a particle at a given time, we can predict, by using Newtonʼs law, what is going to happen in a future time. For this, we feed the computer with the ʽvirtualʼ macromolecules and instruct the computer to find out the final product following Newtonian mechanics. Hence, the designing of novel polymeric materials on a computer can be achieved.

    In this project we will try to understand how the molecules interact using computer simulation. What are the forces that bind them together? Why do they self- assemble in a particular form? What is the temperature and density range that should be used to achieve the best material design?

    ORNL Division:  Computer Science and Mathematics & Center for Nanophase Material Sciences

    Mentor:  Monojoy Goswami

    Students:  Treston Hughes, Miklos Obrusanszki

    Heterologous expression of mgsD to identify potential adaptation to salt stress

    Salt Stress TeamTetrachloroethene (PCE) and trichloroethene (TCE) are two of the most commonly found groundwater contaminants in the United States. These chlorinated solvent contaminants can be remediated by a genus of bacteria known as the Dehalococcoides. Dehalococcoides have evolved to perform bioremediation of PCE to the environmentally benign ethene through a process called reductive dechlorination. Due to their widespread use in bioremediation activities, it is essential to characterize their physiological capabilities in various types of environments. This project will investigate the physiological effects of the mgsD gene on adapting to salt stress by heterologously expressing this gene of interest in E. coli, either from an autonomously replicating vector or from the chromosome itself. In completing this project, students will perform polymerase chain reaction (PCR), agarose gel electrophoresis and growth curves.

    ORNL Division:  Biosciences Division

    Mentors:  Nannan Jiang and Frank E. Löffler

    Facilitator:  Melissa Mynatt

    Students:  Silas Barr, Matthew Boyd, Dianna Corbett, Kaeley Friel

    Magnetic Levitation

    Magnetic Levitation TeamThis project will be exploring the principle of magnetic levitation by using a superconducting material. Assembly of a magnetic rail will be conducted to explore the magnetic levitation phenomenon with an oxide-based high Tc superconductor.

    ORNL Division:  Materials Science and Technology Division

    Mentor:  Ho-Nyung Lee

    Students:  Jenna Clifton, Winzor Guerine, Bennett Watson

    Robotic Systems and Engineering Development

    Robotic Systems TeamRobots are used in the industry to protect humans from hazardous environments or when the work involves highly repetitive and precision tasks. The objectives of this project are to (1) expose students to robotic projects underway at ORNL and (2) provide hands-on experience in designing, constructing and programming a small robot. The students will work in three groups on similar problems at the Remote Systems Group of ORNL’s Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems Division. The focus of this project is to develop the mechanical and programming skills that are needed to design, build and operate a robot. The student will build a robot that can navigate an obstacle course using various sensors (light, ultrasonic and/or touch). The students will learn which sensors are best suited for which purposes and what logic is appropriate for controlling the robot’s trajectory. Students will be using the Lynxmotion Tri-Track Robot and AL5A Robotic Arm for building and testing.

    ORNL Division:  Fusion and Materials for Nuclear Systems

    Mentors:  Venugopal Varma, Adam Aaron and Adam Carroll

    Facilitators:  Carl Mallette and Susan Baumann

    Students:  Reid Artrip, Tessa Brooks, Michael Davis, Jennica England, Dominick Hopper, Caleb Kirschbaum, Logan Knopp, Spencer McNeil, Lawrence Melkulcok, Robert Surge, Caleb Workman

    Build a Supercomputer

    SupercomputerStudents will build a supercomputer! Well, almost. Supercomputers typically use thousands of processors running in parallel to solve problems in science, finance, and other areas. They will build a smaller supercomputer to gain insight and understanding in how supercomputers are organized and then how to program them. Students will build a Beowulf cluster using ordinary computers. Students will then write a parallel program, compile the program, and execute that program on the cluster. Areas that will be covered during this project are:

    • Computing basics
    • Computer networking
    • Linux operating system
    • Computer programming

    Project review and summary

    Students will be required to answer the research question: "In what year would the supercomputer we build be considered the world's fastest supercomputer?" Students will be given classroom-style lectures in addition to hands-on assignment to enforce topics discussed.

    Joint Institute for Computational Sciences

    Mentor:  Robert Whitten

    Facilitator:  Jerry Sherrod

    Assistants:  Benjamin Taylor, Nick Csercsevits, Tommy Hardin

    Students:  Brien Beattie, Savanna Bell, Hailie Eastburn, Jacob Epstein, Mark Johnson, Thorne Lindsey, Robert Mahiques, Dawson Yost


    Teacher Projects


    Investigating Cell Wall Structure to Improve Biofuel Production

    Biofuel TeamTeachers will help produce and characterize biomass from plants and algae as part of a research project that uses neutron scattering and computer simulation to examine the fundamental structure of plant cell walls. The project goal is to find better, faster ways to convert plant biomass to biofuels. The teachers will assist in laboratory production of algae, duckweed, and grasses for structural studies. Hydrolysis of cellulose in the cell walls by commercial enzymes will be compared for plants grown under different conditions. Structural effects at the cellular level will be evaluated by light microscopy. The teachers also will monitor the effects of cultivation conditions (such as illumination, aeration, and type of growth media) on the photosynthetic activity of the plants and microalgae by measuring carbon dioxide uptake and oxygen evolution.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences

    Mentor:  Barbara R. Evans

    Teachers:  Valerie Cangemi, Brian Kinney, Claudia Partee, Teresa Ware

    Absorbent Tests for the Safe Storage of Radioactive Waste or Find a Better Cat Litter

    Cat Litter TeamOn Feb 14, 2014 a major accident occurred at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico caused by the wrong kind of cat litter. In this accident a single drum of nuclear waste broke open. In the past non-reactive absorbent was used. This time organic cat litter was used that reacted with the waste materials to cause heating, which then eventually caused the drum to burst. A large number of drums were apparently stored the same way. This is clearly a serious safety issue that could result in a biohazard for the general population.

    The last time testing was done on these absorbents was Jan 2005. It is clearly the time for this to be revisited. We would like to perform testing to either confirm or refute the absorbent from ORNL Stores as well as the bags of Quik Solid maintained by the Waste Handlers meet minimum weight of water to weight of absorbent of ratio of 18 to one. Secondary goals could be defined to test the 18:1 ratio for freeze/thaw testing and shaker testing as well as determining the maximum absorption ratio achievable that would not release liquids. This is important for the safe transport of these materials to the storage site. We would then have a basis for determining the proper absorbent to be used as well as avoiding those that might react with the waste materials and cause leakage and environmental contamination.

    ORNL Division:  Environmental Protection and Waste Services Division

    Mentors:  Susan Michaud

    Facilitator:  Brian Hingerty

    Teachers:  Tony Barr, JP Davis, Ella Spiegel

    Lithium Titanium Oxide – Synthesis, Characterization and Uses in Lithium Ion Batteries

    LithiumThis research project will be conducted in ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division (CSD), Materials Chemistry Group and is designed to allow participants to better understand processes required to conduct a research project on materials used to produce batteries. The teachers will experience the multifaceted levels of conducting research. They will be given a research assignment and work with a research scientist to understand the required background, processes, and safety procedures. Along with learning to apply many scientific concepts to a real-world problem, they will learn laboratory skills which will enrich and enhance their teaching when they return to their classrooms. In addition, during the two-week program, the teachers will meet other researchers within the Group and Laboratory community and learn about other ORNL projects.

    ORNL Division:  Chemical Sciences Division

    Mentor:  M. Parans Paranthaman

    Facilitator:  James R. Davis

    Teachers:  Steve Bias, Malika Karunaratne, Darla Nash, Mona Steigerwald

    Physical Sciences-Oncology Network Data Coordinating Center (PS-ON DCC)

    EnergyIn 2009, NIH’s national cancer institute (NCI) and office of physical sciences oncology (OPSO) launched the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers (PS-OC) program by awarding cooperative agreements to twelve leading institutions to establish multidisciplinary cancer research initiatives, collectively making up an interactive and collaborative PS-OC Network composed of over 60 institutions. The ultimate goal of the PS-OC Network is to utilize physical sciences and engineering principles to catalyze new fields of study in basic and clinical cancer research, generate new knowledge of the disease at all length scales, and facilitate paradigm-shifting research. In 2012, the Physical Sciences-Oncology Centers Data Coordinating Center (PS-OC DCC) was launched with the goal of creating a unique informatics infrastructure to coordinate PS-OC generated data and high-performance computing analyses with the intent of catalyzing discovery in cancer research not otherwise possible without such coordination. The PS-OC DCC is responsible for all aspects of the informatics system design, understanding the physical measurements data for effective database strategies, and providing leadership in bridging data and physics through state-of-the-art computational analyses. Currently, the PS-OC DCC resides at the University of Tennessee, under development by a UT/ORNL team. The combined UT/ORNL infrastructure offers a powerful environment where the compilation of complex physical sciences data and models will eventually be seamlessly connected to back-end high performance computing. With an anticipated first-year data volume at 200 TB increasing 50 TB annually, the DCC will capitalize on UT/ORNL capabilities in large-volume storage management and high- speed data transfers. In addition to developing a secure, fast infrastructure that can handle Big Data, the challenges include understanding the involved physical science measurement technologies and material characterization, capturing the essential experimental parameters in metadata, and developing use cases for self- consistent physics-based modeling. This is not trivial since physical science data span diverse electromagnetic, chemical, and mechanical measurements from a wide variety of customized/specialized experiments and commercial tools.

    ORNL Division:  Computational Sciences and Engineering

    Mentor:  Ali Passian

    Teachers:  Timothy Elliott, Dominic Mileto