2017 Summer Travel Grant Series: Two-week intensive course on accelerator physics

Summer  Travel Grant 2017 Recipient

Kathleen Tatem

Student Affiliate


During my intensive two-week graduate course on accelerator physics, I completed eight homework assignments, wrote two exams, and experimented with simulation software used to design and operate particle accelerators. An accelerator physicist from Stanford National Accelerator Laboratory taught the course, with a guest lecturer from Los Alamos National Laboratory. The course provided an advanced overview of how different particle accelerators operate, how to describe beam focusing magnets using the mathematics of geometrical optics, causes of beam instabilities, and beam dynamics. University of Hawaii professor John Madey, who passed away last July, was mentioned on the first day of class for his invention of the free electron laser, an influential contribution to accelerator physics. The director of the US Particle Accelerator School introduced me via email to leading experts in the field who might be able to act as my physics mentor for my dissertation, since University of Hawaii will not be hiring a replacement for John Madey.

I also took a tour of the particle accelerators at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab). I worked at Fermilab in 2012 on MicroBooNE, a neutrino oscillation experiment, during its early testing and construction phase. I was thrilled to take a tour of the completed MicroBooNE detector, which is now taking data. I am grateful to have studied with a diverse group of talented and motivated students at the USPAS, and to have had guidance from a knowledgeable and supportive grader, teaching assistant, and professor. The USPAS class was the largest graduate physics course I have taken, and I have not studied with this many other women in a physics course since my introductory undergraduate classes. The connections I have made with my classmates and instructors, career advising received, and the knowledge and skills I have gained will surely lead to future research opportunities.

Thank you so much for the travel grant to attend the US Particle Accelerator School’s Accelerator Physics course.