Julie Hembeck ’12 spent her summer studying the thermal noise of mirror coatings in order to improve the sensitivity of the test mass mirrors in the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO).
Hembeck has worked closely with Associate Professor of Physics Steve Penn in assembling the vacuum system for the experiment and taking measurements of the mechanical loss of the coatings.
“Julie was new to research this summer. The skills she brought were her love and knowledge of physics. She is very enthusiastic about her research and her physics education,” says Penn.
Her first venture into research has provided invaluable insight into her chosen field. “I have gained a better understanding of the physics of mechanical loss of materials as well as insight into how actual physics research is conducted,” explains Hembeck.
A double major in physics and studio art, Hembeck serves as a Physics Teaching Fellow and enjoys participating in Day of Service as well as other community service opportunities. After graduation, Hembeck will attend graduate school.