Student Research: Jacob Metcalfe of Hamburg Studied Laser Initiated Reactions of Chemical Compounds
ALLENTOWN – Jacob Metcalfe ’21 of Hamburg, conducted research at Muhlenberg College over the summer.
Jacob worked with Bruce D. Anderson, professor of chemistry, on an on-going research project which focuses on laser initated reactions on polyynes, molecules that contain linear chains of carbon atoms connected with alternating triple and single bonds.
These compounds may have applications in the next generation of computer chips and may be used as molecular wires. Anderson’s student researchers are working to better understand and control the synthesis of polyynes. Their work has resulted in many student presentations at national meetings and publications in peer reviewed journals.
“I currently plan on becoming a professor, so I wanted to know whether I would be capable of researching and if I enjoyed it,” says Jacob.
More than 60 students are collaborating with faculty on a variety of research projects this summer as part of Muhlenberg’s vibrant research community. Topics can be student- or faculty-driven, and span the natural and social sciences, humanities and arts.
Students are typically on campus for 8-10 weeks of full-time research and receive a stipend, housing and college credit.
The undergraduate research participants join in a weekly summer seminar series in which students discuss their work and an annual poster session allows students to present their work to the campus community at large. Students may also travel off-campus to present their scholarly work in their discipline at regional, national and international conferences, with travel funds provided by the school.
Many students take the opportunity to continue their summer research during the academic year by registering for independent study credit or a research assistantship under the guidance of a faculty member. These programs provide hands-on experience with a faculty mentor to complement their classroom education with practical work experience.