2022 FRIB Visiting Scholar Program for Experimental Science names award winner

20 May 2022

Vandana Tripathi from Florida State University is the award recipient for the 2022 FRIB Visiting Scholar Program for Experimental Science.

FRIB initiated the FRIB Visiting Scholar Program for Experimental Science in 2016. The goal of the program is to encourage and help junior researchers to establish a research program at FRIB. The award supports short-term stays at FRIB/NSCL for junior/non-tenured faculty or staff members. The award includes a stipend of $5,000 to support travel to FRIB and for establishment of a research program at FRIB.

Tripathi’s current research focuses on understanding the structure of subatomic nuclei especially those that are unstable and do not occur in nature but are very crucial to understand nucleo-synthesis as it happened in the early stages of the universe. She employs gamma-ray spectroscopy (both prompt and delayed) to obtain information about excited states in the nuclei of interest which then leads to understanding the forces that hold the nucleons together inside the nucleus.

“The study of excited states and beta decay properties in nuclei far from stability adds to the details of the nuclear force which we do not know as well and are trying to decipher through experimentation and theoretical interpretation,” said Tripathi. “Going forward, what I am most excited about FRIB is the dive into the unknown which may present some unanticipated results.”

Tripathi said FRIB has the potential in the coming years to allow access to a large number of isotopes which have not been observed and investigated yet. She said this will greatly enhance the understanding of the atomic nuclei, and she also sees this as a great opportunity to attract more students to active nuclear physics research.

“My main contribution to society through my research is the training and mentoring of the scientists of tomorrow,” she said. “In that regard, I proactively encourage minorities in our field, especially women students, who I can relate to very well.”

Tripathi received a master’s degree in physics from Agra University, India, and a PhD in experimental nuclear physics from Jawahar Lal Nehru University, India. She later joined the Bhabha Atomic Research Center in India, first as a research associate and later becoming a scientific officer. Tripathi is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Physics at Florida State University (FSU). She has been with FSU’s Department of Physics since 2003, starting as a postdoctoral fellow. Tripathi is a member of the FRIB Users Organization executive committee and the FRIB Decay Station initiator (FDSi) user executive committee.