Dr. Peaslee, Dr. DeYoung, Dr. Mader (Nuclear Group)
Supported by NSF-REU
I began my summer with a crash course in FORTRAN 77 programming, and then spent a couple of weeks writing programs that other research students needed, while continuing to practice my FORTRAN skills. During the entire ten weeks I worked on building PPAC's, and during the last few weeks I worked on the program MODGAN.
The process of building and rebuilding PPAC's is not easy, nor is it always great fun. Several of us spent numerous hours soldering, attaching copper foil, and trying not to break very small wires. The PPAC's had to be redesigned several times, and this, too, was often frustrating, because at times it seemed as if nothing was going to work. This project was headed by a fellow research student, Katie Drake, and she is continuing to work on this project this fall.
The largest project that I worked on this summer was the "cleaning" of the FORTRAN program MODGAN, which was written by N.N. Ajitand (a.k.a Ajit) of Stoneybrook University. MODGAN is a computer program which, in very rough terms, simulates a particle collision and then tells you what particles will be emitted. This is a very simple explanation of a very complex program. The program is useful, but it tends to make some strange errors, and it can take several days to run a hundred thousand events. With help from Ajit, we categorized the subroutines into three types: Statistical, Kinematics, and Other. Having the least physics experience of the three working on the project (myself, Steven Sundbeck, and Casey Carney), I was given the category "Other". I then spent several weeks going through individual subroutines looking for errors and changing the code to make it more efficient. Work is continuing on this project.
This school year, I hope to find time to work on these and other projects. I enjoyed my research experience, and I am looking forward to possibly participating again next year.