Undergraduate Measurements of
Neutron Scattering Cross Sections
S. F. Hicks
Department of Physics, University of Dallas, Irving, Texas
In collaboration with
Department of Physics, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis,
Maryland 21402 USA
Steve Yates and Marcus McEllistrem
Departments of Chemistry and Physics & Astronomy,
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40506 USA
U. Dallas, U. KY, and USNA Collaboration
Research funded by Department of Energy through
Grant # NEUP: NU-12-KY-UK-0201-05
The University of Dallas -
A Catholic Liberal Arts University in Irving, TX
• 1380 Undergraduate Students
• 40-42 Physics Majors
• Limited In-House Facilities for Research.
The Physics Department Faculty:
Dr. R. Olenick -Physics Education/Astronomy
Dr. J. Moldenhauer –Astrophysics and Cosmology
Dr. S. Hicks – Experimental Nuclear Physics
Undergraduate Research at the University of Dallas:
• B.S. requires a research project, an undergraduate thesis, and a
talk at a professional meeting (56/60 B.S. in last 10 years)
• Outside research a necessity for students to fulfill the research
requirement, e.g., NEUP research at the University of Kentucky.
Luke Kersting 2010
Leslie Sidwell and Brett Combs
Elastic /Inelastic Measurement Project
Part of the Advanced Fuel Cycle Initiative (AFCI) to develop safe, clean, and
affordable energy sources.
Goals of Gen IV:
iv) Physically Secure
Critical need for high-precision and accurate elastic and inelastic neutron scattering data on materials
important for fission reactor technology. Once obtained the data are sent to data evaluators.
Critical need for trained individuals. (NEUP initiative puts undergraduate
students on the right pathway to becoming scientists and engineers.)
• Participate in measurements at UKAL
• Analyze data sets, e.g., two or more
angular distributions of elastically
and inelastically scattered neutrons
and a detector efficiency
Relative Detector Efficiency
Solid line is ENDF model calculations
at En=3.0 MeV
University of Dallas students have participated in nuclear structure and neutron
scattering measurements at UKAL since 1990.
• Students participate in all aspects of the measurements.
• A much better teaching environment than going to a more traditional
user facility, e.g., the PSI.
• Projects are manageable in 10 weeks in the summer.
University of Kentucky
Modified Model CN VDG.
Experiments at the University of
Kentucky provide students with
many hands-on opportunities,
including working on the
Aaron French – ACS National Nuclear
Summer School, NEUP Undergraduate
Scholarship, U.S. Collegiate Athletic
Association's National All-Academic Team.
Zach Santonil – EE U. of Notre
Dame in Fall 2015.
Statistics of Student Participants
(18 years of funding- 31 students)
Advanced Degrees (3 students are double counted)
Physics Ph.D. (Ohio State, UTD, Nebraska, Wash U,)
Physics Ph.D. or Ph.D. Candidate (Vanderbilt, ?, ?)
Engineering Ph.D. (Michigan)
Engineering Ph.D. Candidate (Notre Dame, Princeton, TX Tech, Wisconsin,?,?)
Total Ph.D. or Ph.D. Candidate
Terminal Masters (UNC, Syracuse, UTD, Chicago, Penn State, Hartford )
Physicians or Physician Candidate
High School Teachers
Total Advanced Physics or Engineering Degrees or Degree Candidates
Total Advanced Degrees or Degree Candidates
• UKAL is an excellent environment for undergraduate research
• Hands-on opportunities
• 84% of students have attained a Ph.D., M.S., or M.D.