Physics Research at Haverford with Maple Lee BMC’17

A couple weekends ago, I ran into my hell sister Maple Lee (BMC’17) while boarding the Blue Bus to Haverford for brunch. I don’t see her that often because she majors in Physics at Haverford, so most of her classes are there. After catching up with each other over brunch, we found out we were headed in the same direction – she to her Physics research lab and I to the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery. I took a detour to the gallery by following Maple to her lab.dfe57225-5ff2-4fc9-ac84-b3e624763cbd

Maple started working with Professor Walter Smith over the summer researching the conductivity of different nano materials. Her research continued into the school year. She tried to explain the process to me, but it’s pretty complicated. Maple is in charge increasing the Hydrogen pressure in a closed chamber encasing her nano material sample. She has to increase the pressure every 10 hours or so. The nano material is simultaneously exposed to a laser beam and the increased Hydrogen pressure, which increases the electric current. Every 200 seconds, a shutter cuts off the laser, and then the computer measures the gate voltage difference and the current drop inside the chamber. Laser intensity and temperature are also measured.

Maple says the shutter stops working every week, so it has to be replaced and they have to restart computer to retake measurements. Other than a slow processing computer, everything else in the lab is high tech. There are several other students that work in the same lab, but they are assigned to research different nano materials. Maple gets along with her lab mates, but the one thing she finds tedious is traveling back and forth between Bryn Mawr and Haverford.

As a physics major myself (at Bryn Mawr), I admire the work Maple is doing in the lab. The lab isn’t for everyone (me, included), but I respect the cutting edge research that results from the lab process.

Thank you for showing me around, Maple! I look forward to seeing your presentation and results at the end.