In the last five years, Professor Tom Varberg has published six peer-reviewed journal articles with nine different Macalester students as co-authors.
Our work will result in the first determination of the bond length of gold sulfide.
In Professor Tom Varberg’s laser spectroscopy lab we analyzed two rarely studied molecules: tantalum oxide (TaO) and gold sulfide (AuS). Our goal was to discover important molecular properties of these compounds, using powerful lasers that produce light in a variety of colors. Scientists are particularly interested in the gold sulfide molecule since so many new nanomaterials are based on sulfur compounds bonding to gold surfaces. Our work will result in the first determination of the bond length of gold sulfide. We shot our compounds with these lasers and used computers to gather our data. Some of the concepts and methods seemed overwhelming at times, but Professor Varberg is a great mentor.
In addition to the scientific aspects, it was fantastic getting to know the other students and staff. There were barbecues for all the science labs every Friday and other social events like baseball games where I met many Mac students and professors.
Being a science major at Mac is great—we are all more or less a team. Professors and students alike want to ensure a top-notch education for each individual student, but we also do our best to make sure things turn out well for the whole team. Here at Mac, students and professors are not just competitors or graders, but also friends and allies.