Two students chosen to assist researchers at nuclear laboratories

By James Danca

Two NIU students will spend their spring semester conducting research at prestigous national nuclear laboratories through a two-year-old program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The pair, both enrolled in NIU’s honors program, are Christopher Legan, a junior majoring in physics, and Russel Talley, a sophomore specializing in material science. Legan has had prior experience at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia , and will be working at Argonne National Laboratory also located in DuPage county. Talley plans to intern at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

Joseph Gastiger, NIU honors program coordinator, said each student will earn $150 per week and gain college credit as they take part in seminars and assist leading scientists in their research.

John Mateja, who heads Argonne’s educational programs, said 140 students were selected from among 250 applicants to the energy department program nationwide. Argonne will host 66 student researchers, with others interning at five other national laboratories including Los Alamos.

“The selection at Argonne is done by the staff scientists,” said Mateja. “We circulate the list of applicants along with their files, which include scientific background, letters of recommendation, grades in school and experience. We try to match them with appropriate researchers.”