What happens when a group, mostly consisting of German design students and students of economics, meet physics?
It sparks excitement and cluelessness!

Today we visited the famous Jefferson Laboratories in Newport News.

We started our tour at the „Applied Research Center“ by meeting Professor Dr. Helmut Baumgart.
He is a world-renowned professor for Electrical & Computer Engineering at the Old Dominion University and worked in the semiconductor industry for over 25 years.
Together we spoke a lot abut his current and past research regarding semiconductors and exploring the nature of matter in general.
Helmut also told us, that the J-Labs is one of a dozen big nuclear technology research centers in the US, where scientists from ODU, Christopher Newport University, Collage of William and Mary and the Jefferson University combine their efforts and work collaboratively.
The current research done here is focused on developing solar technology for NASA and developing techniques for producing thermoelectric nano-materials, which are smaller than 10 nm in size. For the none-scientists reading this: One nano-meter is equal to one billionth of a meter.

At this facility the researchers apply small films of material on small plates called “wafer”.
Seeing these little mirror-like objects truly fascinated our group.  We were told that this is: “the most perfect material on earth”

We also spoke a lot about Intel’s current plan of building a micro-chip production facility near Magdeburg.
Helmut argued that the city of Magdeburg will therefore become Germany’s biggest semiconductor location. This also involves huge challenges when it comes to the training of production personnel. In his opinion, Intel will need trained workers instead of research facilities based in Magdeburg.

For the next scientific voyage, we met up with Ph.D. Gabriel Palacios-Serrano.

He does research in the realms of accelerator physics and Gabriel therefore was the perfect match for gaining a deep insight in the work that is done at the “Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility”.
Here scientists research the behavior of particles which are accelerated to almost the speed of light.
Researchers like Gabriel develop systems to influence these particles and machines that can detect the effects colliding elements show. They therefore hope to gain deeper insights in the mechanisms that build up our world.

New systems are first tested in the test facility, that Gabriel explained to us.

We also found out, that scientists like to write or stick post-it notes on expensive hardware!

Again, the hardware used to build this accelerator sparked excitement inside our group.
Olli had a  lot of fun, holding the model of a future accelerator component, which is purely made from niobium.
The specific type of alloy used here costs over $ 100,000 per kilogram.

Again we also used the opportunity to take “great” group pictures!

Afterwards we again split our group.

Some went to get lunch at the “Country Grill & Smokehouse” in Hampton and the others took the opportunity to eat with Gabriel at a great local Mexican restaurant called “Los Paisas Locos”.
(First time for us in the US – because “Taco Bell” apparently doesn’t count!)

Right after lunch-break, we fulfilled the desire of many group members and drove to the “Lynnhaven Mall” – a huge AMERICAN mall.
Possibly the most exciting thing to visit there, was the best arcade we’ve ever been to.

After heading back to the hotel, most of our group immediately went to the opening of a new art exhibition we were invited to. The “Barry Gordan Gallery” presented the works of female graphic designers.

The late evening program was mainly taken by the relentless efforts of packing all the things back together that were ruthlessly thrown around our hotel rooms.

Thank you for reading this blogpost!

This blog-post is presented to you by:

Daniel Menschulin (Masters Student of Risk Management)
Max Häusgen (Dual Student of Business Administration @Avacon)