Deanna Csomo McCool | October 21, 2018
Open House to be held Wednesday, October 24
The humble-looking stack of 200 postcard-sized rectangles of aluminum that rested on a table this past summer, next to the Physics Machine Shop’s newest piece of equipment, will eventually have a job to brag about: helping explain the Standard Model of Physics.
Nearby in the shop, 115 Nieuwland Hall, tool-and-die maker Matthew Sanford machined a larger slab of aluminum with modifications designed by mechanical engineer Randy Hamper from the Engineering and Design Core Facility (EDCF). This piece of metal may lead to the discovery of a life-supporting planet.
Deciphering the physical secrets of the universe that are beyond human comprehension doesn’t come easy. Understanding mysteries requires research, planning, and equipment—lots of equipment—large and small.
Physicists at the University of Notre Dame are developing groundbreaking devices, but many of their inventions begin as raw materials that are shaped, cut, tooled, engraved, and soldered with precision in the Physics Machine Shop. The variety of projects manufactured by the three-member staff creates an atmosphere in the shop that manager David Futa likened to an adult sandbox.
“We get to work on different projects almost every day,” he said. “Having the students and professors explain what the projects are and how they fit into scientific research is the best part—it has the feel of working in a Star Trek engineering group that includes physicists, engineers, chemists, and biochemists from all across campus.”
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