Undergrad to Present Physics Research at Upcoming URECA Celebration

Daniel Julian ’25 — the URECA researcher of the month for April — is an Honors College junior double majoring in physics and applied mathematics. Since January 2023, he has been working under the mentorship of Assistant Professor Jesús Pérez-Ríos on using machine learning for atomic and molecular physics, and was listed as a co-first author for his contributions to a Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy article titled, “The database of spectroscopic constants of diatomic molecules (DSCDM): A dynamic and  user-friendly interface for molecular physics and spectroscopy.” 

Julian explained what he enjoys most about being a part of Pérez-Ríos’ research group: “There’s a huge emphasis on critical thinking and scientific communication. In addition, what I also like about it is that not we’re being told what to do. We are given project ideas,  and we’re allowed to explore what we think is a good approach. As we work on the problems, Dr. Perez Rios will mentor us, and lead us in the right path. But there’s always a level of individual freedom in the  group, which I really like.”

Julian’s full-time research in Summer 2023 under the mentorship of Pérez-Ríos was supported through Explorations in STEM, a URECA–Career Center undergraduate research program. The previous summer, he was introduced to machine learning tools as an intern in the SULI internship program at Brookhaven National Lab, where he worked with physicist Garth Williams at the National Synchrotron Light Source II on using neural networks to predict the number of grains contributing to the diffraction pattern of a polycrystal. Julian’s long-term goal is to pursue graduate studies in the field of theoretical physics. 

Last summer, Julian presented a poster at the annual Summer Symposium on “Learning chemical reactions: Neural networks for predicting final states of an atom-diatom collision.” He has also presented at the Society of Physics Students inaugural poster day event (March 2023); at the URECA Spring 2023 Celebration of Undergraduate Research (May 2023); and at the 54th Annual Meeting of the APS Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) in Spokane, Washington (June 2023). Julian was among a group of physics students who volunteered to practice science communication skills through fun, hands-on physics exhibits at the CommUniversity event (October 2023), and he recently presented a poster at the Physics Undergraduate Symposium (March 2024). 

Julian’s research will be featured at the upcoming URECA Celebration on Tuesday, April 30.

Read the full interview with URECA Director Karen Kernan. 

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