First Year Honors Student Has Physics Research Published in Leading Science Journal
Apr 2, 2010 — Physics runs in the family of first year Yeshiva College Honors student Aaron Yevick. Growing up in Toronto, Canada his father, a physicist, encouraged his interest in the field and his grandfather, also a physicist, accompanied him into the classroom in the form of the well known Percus-Yevick Equation which he coauthored and which is cited in textbook chapters on fluid dynamics. His grandmother, the fifth woman to earn a PHD in mathematics from MIT, also completed an M.S in phyics and Aaron’s two sisters are promising physics students as well.
With the publishing of his own innovative physics research, Yevick is now one step closer to joining the ranks of his father, grandfather, and other distinguished physicists of the scientific community. Yevick is listed as the first author of Effects of Surface on EXAFS modeling of metallic clusters written together with Stern College professor of physics and nanoscience specialist, Dr. Anatoly Frenkel, with whom he collaborated. The article’s rapid acceptance into the leading, peer reviewed scientific journal Physical Review B – only 24 days from its submission- is a testament to the significance of the research.
The research explores the properties of nanoparticles, clusters made of ten to several thousand atoms. Nanoparticle research is currently a diverse, large and rapidly growing area of intense scientific interest which inc
“It was a very rewarding collaboration for me: one more typical of two colleagues than that of a mentor and student.” -Dr. Anatoly Frenkel
ludes physicists, chemical engineers, biologists and medical doctors who are examining the materials with the hope of developing real- world applications, such as fuel cells in automobiles, data storage in electronics, and uses in catalysis and medicine.
Commenting on his first foray into the scientific process, Yevick said: “I did not know what to expect from my first research experience, but it was definitely a success. I saw how the physics I learned in my courses applies to the real world. Dr. Frenkel is truly unique in terms of the support that he gave me and I am deeply grateful to Yeshiva University for providing me with such an invaluable opportunity.”
Working mainly from the Brookhaven National Laboratory where Dr. Frenkel is a co-founder and co-director of the Synchotron Catalysis Consortium, the student teacher pair employed an x-ray technique called EXAFS (extended x-ray absorption fine-structure) to analyze the structure and composition of nanoparticles.
Due to their sensitive nature and compositon, nanoclusters can be distorted by effects such as surface tension. Through the use of computer models they simulated the results of EXAFS measurements of particles under varying degrees of atomic disorder.
Surprisingly, results showed a discrepancy in the application of EXAFS analysis to the different clusters. They found that EXAFS analysis could not be applied directly to the distorted clusters though it yielded accurate results for well ordered clusters. In fact, many previous researchers who had applied EXAFS analysis to nanoparticles had reported incidents of anomalous results.
They then proposed a correction procedure that explains the discrepancy as an artifact of the strong disorder in the atomic positions. The innovative simulation method they developed allows scientists to deduce the specific form of disorder in nanometer-scale particles from measurement data.
Yevick recently had the distinction of presenting his research at the American Physical Society’s March meeting. The yearly meeting is the largest annual conference of professional physicists in the United States which features presentations on the latest physics research.
“I had fun working with Aaron,” said Dr. Frenkel when discussing their research partnership. “He educated himself very quickly in the basics of synchrotron experiments, data analysis and structural modeling of nanoparticles – skills usually acquired in graduate schools. It was a very rewarding collaboration for me: one more typical of two colleagues than that of a mentor and student.
Yevick, who in his spare time plays violin for the Yeshiva University Chamber Ensemble and Jazz Band, is majoring in physics and considering a double major in math and a minor in music. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, he plans to pursue a graduate degree in physics. His ultimate dream is to return to Yeshiva College and educate the next generation of physics students.