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Majors & Degrees

Barton accepts post-bachelor work at premier physics lab

February 22, 2015

Dakota State University alumnus, Clay “CJ” Barton recently started his post-bachelor position as an on-call employee at the nation’s premier particle physics laboratory, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, in Batavia, Ill. Barton, from Webster, S.D., graduated this past December with a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science with a physics specialization. 

Barton will be working as a research technician at Fermilab in connection with the Muon g-2 particle physics experiment. According to Femilab’s website, the research involves “Fermilabs powerful accelerators to explore the interaction of short-lived particles known as muons with a strong magnetic field in ‘empty’ space.”

“It involves the study of vacuum fluctuations by studying particles travelling through a vacuum at nearly the speed of light,” Barton said about the experiment.Dakota State University alumnus, Clay “CJ” Barton

To say that Barton has been a busy, accomplished person, is really an understatement. Last year, he received a student educational stipend from the NASA South Dakota Space Grant Consortium (SDSGC) and also interned at Louisiana State University this past summer. Barton was one of only 10 students that were accepted to the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program at LSU, more than 300 students applied. During the experience, he programmed and ran simulations of cosmic muons in a virtual liquid argon detector for the Long Baseline Neutrino Experiment.

When asked what led to his success both pre- and post-graduation, Barton could not commend his physics professor and advisor, Dr. Barbara Szczerbinska, enough on her “genuine care and extraordinary effort.”

“She was the one who encouraged me to apply for the internship at LSU last summer, as well as for the SDSGC student educational stipend,” said Barton. “Even now that I’ve graduated, Dr. Szczerbinska is continuing to help me in the search for new opportunities. I find this remarkable given that I am no longer an official student of hers, but really that’s just the kind of person she is.”

Barton also praises Dr. Michael Gaylor, DSU assistant professor of chemistry, for his continued success. 

“I’ve learned so much from him including his perspectives on life and academia which have been a great source of inspiration for me.”

As for his plans after Fermilab, Barton isn’t sure where the future may take him. He does want to eventually attend graduate school and earn a Ph.D. in physics while continuing within the area of research.