- Goldwater Scholarship (2020)
Kelli Michaels, a physics and math major from Bloomington, Indiana, is working on two research projects. One, led by physics professor Jim Musser, studies the composition of the cosmic rays generated when large astronomical bodies like stars collide. Weather balloons will loft a particle detector the size of a small room to the top of earth's atmosphere over Antarctica in order to intercept and analyze the rays. The particle detector is in its final stages and is scheduled for lift-off in December.
Michaels, who hopes to go to graduate school to study experimental physics, is also studying neutrinos under the guidance of physics professor Mark Messier. Neutrinos are subatomic particles that have little or no mass, making them extremely hard to detect. Their very elusiveness appeals to Michaels.
Michaels is a 2020 Goldwater Scholarship recipient.