2010 graduate completes doctoral research in Antarctica
2010 graduate completes doctoral research in Antarctica
Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Brian Clark, Class of 2010 - Clark recently returned from Antarctica where he was completing field work for his doctoral research through a research grant he received from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). Clark's specialty is particle astrophysics. A fourth-year graduate student, Clark is scheduled to graduate with his Ph.D. in May 2019 from The Ohio State University.

Clark and his advisor wrote a research proposal that won him the NSF Graduate Research Fellow in 2016. He was the only graduate student in the university's physics department to receive the fellowship that year, and he earned it on his first attempt. At the time he received the research grant, Clark credited his time at Pattonville High School and the inspiration of his science teacher Erin Mulanax as the reason for his achievements thus far in studying and researching in his chosen field.

Clark's research project is the measurement and study of high-energy neutrinos as they hit the earth. According to Scientific American, "a neutrino is a subatomic particle that is very similar to an electron, but has no electrical charge and a very small mass, which might even be zero."

Clark's project measures neutrinos at the South Pole when they penetrate the ice. When neutrinos penetrate the ice, they emit RF (radiofrequency) radiation. The radiation is measured by drilling holes deep into the ice and dropping antennas into the holes. This array of antennas forms a radio “telescope” which detects the RF emissions. They measure both Vertical-Pol and Horizontal-Pol radiation. The project is called the Askaryan Radio Array, named after a Soviet scientist who discovered the emitted radiation effect. 

Find out more
More information on the project, which is a collaboration between Ohio State and other universities, can be found at the following websites.

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Brian Clark is shown at the ceremonial South Pole in Antarctica.