CONWAY, Ark. (June 4, 2012) - Katherine Coughran '14 of Allen, Texas, and Britton Jones '13 of Rogers, Ark., recently visited Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston, Texas, to see how scientific research has been used to further manned spaceflight.
The students were accompanied by Hendrix physics professor and alumnus Dr. Todd Tinsley'98, who met with scientists at Rice University and JSC to discuss potential collaborations in the area of particle astrophysics.
"We were invited to walk down to the floor of the mission control center, tour training mockups of the space shuttle and international space station, and watch astronauts training in the neutral buoyancy laboratory," said Tinsley.
"We coordinated our visit with Charles Armstrong, a member of the Orion team who is currently serving on a rotation with JSC¹s Office of External Relations, and with Arthur Thomason'97," he said.
Thomason has a master's degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. He is currently an Extravehicular Activities (EVA) flight controller and instructor. He designs spacewalks, trains the astronauts for the tasks, and troubleshoots any problems that occur while the EVA is underway.
Jones is working with Hendrix physics professor Dr. Bob Dunn this summer on ring laser research. Next year, Jones will enter a dual degree program at Washington University. Coughran is working with Tinsley to explore the production of electron-positron pairs with supernova neutrinos in the limit of large electron and positron Landau levels. The students' summer research is supported by a grant from National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC).
"The students and I are very grateful for NASA/ASGC's financial support, the help Bob Dunn provided in securing the trip, and to Charles and Art for sharing their time and providing such a great experience," he said.
Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is a national leader in engaged liberal arts and sciences education. Hendrix was named the country's #1 "Up and Coming" liberal arts college for the third consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report. Hendrix is featured in the 2011 edition of the Princeton Review as one of the country's best 376 colleges and is listed in the 2012 edition of the Fiske Guide to Colleges as one of 25 "Best Buy" private colleges included. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. For more information, visit www.hendrix.edu.