Missouri S&T researchers earn two Department of Energy grants

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On August 24, 2023

Aerial shot of the Missouri S&T campus in fall. Photo by Terry Barner/Missouri S&T

A physicist and ceramic engineer from Missouri S&T have both been selected to receive grants from the Department of Energy’s Funding for Accelerated, Inclusive Research (FAIR) initiative. The two researchers’ projects were selected by a competitive, scientific peer-reviewed process.

Dr. Shun Saito, an assistant professor of physics at Missouri S&T, will receive $588,768 for research titled “Accelerating Dark Energy Science from Emission-Line Galaxy Surveys and Participation of Women and Underrepresented Minority Groups in Midwest.” He is leading the research with co-principal investigator (co-PI) Dr. Andrew Hearin, a physicist at Argonne National Laboratory.

Dr. Shun Saito. Photo by Missouri S&T.

Saito’s project relates to the DOE-funded Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument, which is measuring the trajectory of this expansion by mapping emission line galaxies. Emission lines are light signals emanating from the galaxies across billions of years, and these lines can be used in mapping. Saito and his team will build a simulation-based framework to predict a clustering pattern of faraway emission line galaxies that can then be used to understand the nature of dark energy.

Saito’s team is a part of Missouri S&T’s Institute of Multi-Messenger Astrophysics and Cosmology (IMAC). The institute provides Missouri S&T researchers with infrastructure to pursue collaborative research with scientists at other institutions, achieve success in astrophysical research and scholarship, and recruit and educate graduate and undergraduate students.

“In the last decade, we have seen a lot of progress in measuring the nearby universe,” says Saito. “Now we want to locate more distant galaxies to fully map out the evolution of cosmological expansion.”

The research will take advantage of high-performance computing at Argonne’s Laboratory Computing Resource Center.

Dr. David Lipke. Photo by Sam O’Keefe/Missouri S&T.

Dr. David Lipke, an assistant professor of materials science and engineering at S&T, will receive $637,500 for research titled “Development of Containerless HTXRD Technique for In Situ Materials Characterization in Extreme Environments.” His research co-PIs are Dr. Chris Benmore, a senior physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, and Dr. Rick Weber, president of Materials Development Inc.

Lipke’s project will advance high temperature materials research by establishing a hyperbaric aerodynamic levitation facility for in-situ containerless melting studies using high-energy X-ray scattering techniques. Lipke says that understanding the emergence of non-equilibrium states in crystals and glasses cuts across multiple areas of importance for the energy, economic and national security of the United States, including steel and glassmaking industries, additive manufacturing, high purity crystal growth, and high temperature materials research for nuclear, defense, energy generation and transportation applications.

“This project furthers Missouri S&T’s international reputation for excellence in materials for extreme environments,” says Lipke. “This hyperbaric aerodynamic levitation facility represents a leap forward in our capability to generate data at ultra-high temperatures, representing an important step toward the creation of an ultra-high temperature materials genome that can serve as a foundation upon which to design and discover materials with extreme properties.”

About Missouri University of Science and Technology

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.

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