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6/15/12 - Groundbreaking MSU student researcher gets major recognition

An assistantship with a world-class laboratory will give Mississippi State senior Prajwal Mohanmurthy the opportunity to continue his role in groundbreaking research.

A physics major at the university from Starkville and Bangalore, India, he recently was selected to participate in the Jefferson Science Associates Minority Undergraduate Assistantship, sponsored by the Virginia-based Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, also known as the Jefferson Lab.

Mohanmurthy also is the first MSU student invited to attend the 62nd Lindau Meeting of Nobel Laureates, taking place during July in Germany. The meeting includes both undergraduate and doctoral-level researchers, who are selected through a rigorous screening process.

The year-long JSA research assistantship involves work done with the Medium Energy Nuclear Physics group run by Dipangkar Dutta, associate professor in MSU's physics and astronomy department.

For more than a year, the two have been working to develop a new way to measure an electron beam's spin polarization property with a proposed device called a "spin-light polarimeter."

Dutta currently is designing a prototype for the detectors needed for this device and Mohanmurthy's role has been performing computer simulations that help demonstrate the concept of the spin-light polarimeter. The JSA assistantship will allow him to work on a more detailed simulation of the complete device.

"Prajwal has a strong aptitude for research; this is a level of work usually performed by graduate students," Dutta said.

"When Mohanmurthy joined my group, it was clear that he was extremely dedicated and a highly motivated student," Dutta said. "He is definitely one of the best students I have seen during my six years at MSU."

Dutta said Mohanmurthy's selection for the Jefferson Lab assistantship and participation in the Nobel Laureates meeting reflects the high-achieving student's unique talents while also spotlighting the caliber of MSU research.

It also illustrates one of the major advantages of an undergraduate education at a research university and the role of such research opportunities in the overall learning environment at MSU, he added.

Margaret Kovar | University Relations

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