Turlock High AP Physics Students Explore Nuclear Fusion At Livermore Labs

Courtesy of Turlock High School|

Seventeen AP Physics students from Turlock High School embarked on a voyage of learning to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to tour the National Ignition Facility, the world’s largest and highest energy laser system.

Students were able to see the laser and facility which are currently pioneering efforts to ignite a self-sustaining nuclear fusion reaction which produces net energy gains, the same process that makes stars shine and provides the life-giving energy of the sun.

The students were given an overview of LLNL by Dr. John Knezovich, Director of University Relations and Science Education, and had a Q & A session with Dr. Don Correll, Group Leader of Fusion Energy Sciences Programs and Director of the Institute for Laser Science Applications at LLNL.

AP Physics teacher Jonathan Kamp spearheaded the effort for students to see technology in person that will one day benefit mankind.

“This was an incredibly invaluable opportunity for THS students to see the real world application of science and its benefits for our nation and all of mankind. It is our goal to bridge the gap between STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) education and careers by giving our students the opportunity to visit and network with professionals in STEM fields,” he said.

A number of the students gave insight into their experience.

“The trip to Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has reinforced my ambition to become a researcher in those fields available at LLNL. The whole experience was extremely informative.” -Brian Rendon

“Visiting LLNL was an opportunity I am thankful to have received. I was able to have a better understanding of the latest technologies and innovations that have the potential to move science forward in the positive direction. As a high school senior, I plan on attending UC Davis in the fall and major in biomedical Engineering.” – Marina Gabriel

“The amazing laboratory with some of the most brilliant minds, capable of creating a miniature star absolutely astounded me. It was inspiring and has encouraged the belief that anything can be achieved.” – Dario Torres

“This experience was such an eye-opener about all the incredible opportunities burgeoning in physics, engineering, and other science-related fields. Thanks to this trip, I have gained much valuable insight regarding the latest energy research and innovations that I can hopefully one day apply to my future career.” – Henna Hondal

“If I had the chance to relive the experience again, I would say yes in a heartbeat. I was blown away by what I saw. It was a breathtaking atmosphere that is hard to describe. It was like taking a glance at the future.” – Sara Mendoza

“This was the greatest educational experience in my great four years of Turlock High School. All of our speakers were brilliant and well-rounded scholars with unimaginable grasp on the principles they are involved in. These men and women will surely go down in history as some of the brightest people this great nation has ever seen.” – Robbie Tury

“The trip was exciting as it was informative. I wish I had more time to spend there.” – Angel Carbajal

THS science teachers Lauren Bettencourt and Ryan Hollister chaperoned the trip. 

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