As talented researchers working toward advanced degrees, Rutgers graduate students Brian Tice and Michael Drahl already exist in a pretty rarefied academic environment. Brian, a student of nuclear physics, and Michael, who researches synthetic organic chemistry, are surrounded by renowned professors mentoring them and guiding their work.
Meeting of the Minds
These two New Jersey natives are being trained for the rigors of a life spent looking for answers to previously unanswered questions. They’re also among a select group of university students who were invited to attend the 60th Meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, held June 27 through July 2, 2010.
Tim Koeth, who earned his doctoral degree in physics from Rutgers in 2009, made the trip to Lindau in 2004. “There wasn’t one moment I didn’t enjoy,” recalls Koeth, currently a faculty research associate at the University of Maryland who also holds a visiting instructorship at Rutgers–New Brunswick. “It was an epiphany for me, that, hey, these are just people. Scientists just like myself, just with more years under their belts.”
Michael chose to do graduate work at Rutgers because “the chemistry department is among the top 10 nationally for federal funding, and that provides a wealth of opportunities to do some cutting-edge research,” he says. His work in the lab of Professor Lawrence Williams focuses on the synthesis of structurally complex natural products that “have some very promising anticancer and antibiotic properties,” he says.
The link between the Rutgers physics and astronomy department and Fermilabs’ MINERvA project drew Brian to Rutgers. The experiment is a collaboration of nuclear and particle physicists from 24 institutions in the United States, Europe, and South America. At Rutgers, the project is being directed by Ron Ransome, in whose lab Brian works.