National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA’s missions keep young scientists coming back for more

April 22, 2019

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Graduate students Rebecca Lewis and Zachary Matheson
Graduate students Rebecca Lewis and Zachary Matheson

Graduate students Rebecca Lewis and Zachary Matheson have been selected as fellows in the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program (NGFP) beginning in June. Both are currently working on research funded by the NNSA’s Stewardship Science Academic Alliances Program at Michigan State University’s National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams.

Lewis is investigating experimental techniques of low-energy nuclear physics. The goal of the program is to understand the mechanisms of neutron capture reactions. Such reactions take place in astrophysical stellar environments, such as supernova or neutron star mergers, which often involve neutron rich isotopes that cannot be produced in the laboratory. The experimental reaction rates are compared to theoretical predictions used in a wide range of applications. Lewis will be working in Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development when she joins NNSA.

Matheson studies theory of nuclear fission. The goal of his research is in the delivery of microscopic models capable of providing quantified predictions for fission. For many NNSA applications, the required data on fission cannot be obtained by experiment because they involve short-lived very neutron-rich nuclei hence scientists have to rely on theory. Matheson will be working in the Office of Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation’s Office of Advanced Simulation and Computing and Institutional Programs.

NGFP offers unmatched opportunities for graduate-level students to gain hands-on experience and explore careers across the Nuclear Security Enterprise. Our fellows are highly sought after by employers with many going on to make important contributions to NNSA and other leading national security organizations including the National Laboratories. Both Lewis and Matheson will be based in Washington, D.C., for the duration of their yearlong fellowship.

Visit our website to learn more about starting a career with NNSA.