Caleb Simons is a SUNRISE student at the Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado. He is working with graduate students Wiley Kirks and Dalton Shadle at CHESS.
What is the research you are engaged in and what have you accomplished so far this summer? What are you hoping to accomplish by the end of your project?
I am working on simulation software to supplement the work that the MSN-C lab does with high energy diffraction microscopy (HEDM). We are using a Matlab based software suite that allows us to simulate loading and elastic defformation response for several materials that my mentors are studying. The goal is to create a workflow document for the software, quantify the difference between the software and the experiments, and gain a better understanding of the material.
What are the impacts of your research for the general public?
The materials that we are studying are used in a variety of aerospace applications. The MSN-C lab is also heavily funded by the Air Force Research Lab.
What are you enjoying most about this research/summer experience?
I am learning about the work that the MSN-C lab is doing, which is way beyond my pay grade and understanding, but is so so cool. It’s fascinating to see people that are operating at a level way beyond my undergrad experience, and to see where my educational path could take me.
What are you finding the most challenging about this research?
On the knowledge front, the project has been like jumping into the deep end of the pool. Wrapping my head around the science underlying the HEDM techniques is crazy difficult. We have had about 5-6 hours of “crash-courses” to try and get a basic understanding but even with that, I’m just barely starting to understand.
How has this experience changed your view about being a researcher?
I don’t know if I could say it changed my views, since I really didn’t know what to expect. To be blunt I am still deciding if research is something I want to pursue in the future, but in the present it is a fantastic expereince to get a small taste of what it is like.