Students conduct experiments at the Argonne National Laboratory

Southern University students and mentors were among a number of universities that spent 10 weeks at the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Photon Source and other facilities and divisions at Argonne National Laboratory as part of the DOE/National Science Foundation-funded Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) program.

The program provides hands-on research opportunities for faculty and students from colleges and universities with limited research facilities and those institutions serving populations underrepresented in the fields of science, engineering, and technology.

SU civil engineering students Steven Robins, Jasmin Richardson, Courtney Gordon and their mentor Riyadh Al-Raoush studied at the GeoSoilEnviroCARS x-ray beamline at the APS. Under the guidance of Mark Rivers (University of Chicago and GSECARS), the group performed microtomography experiments on fluid saturated soil columns, important for understanding environmental remediation efforts.

They did a complete experiment from start-to-finish, including designing a real-time flow apparatus with SolidWorks three-dimensional computer-aided design software, helping to build it, and treating the soil columns in the laboratory. They then spent  four 24-hour days in a row collecting the data at the microtomography facility at the GSECARS station 13-BM-D, and analyzed the more than 100 gigabytes of data they collected.

Gordon and Richardson are seniors and Robins is a junior. Robins and Richardson are Baton Rouge natives and graduated from Scotlandville High School. Gordon is native of Greensburg, La., and a graduate of St. Helena Central High School.

Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies.