Michael H. Wood, an associate professor of physics at Canisius College, will use a $105,000 National Science Foundation grant to better understand how subatomic particles – the building blocks of the universe – are created.
Physics majors at Canisius will be able to participate in the research and assist in data analysis.
An experimental nuclear physicist, Wood studies how the nucleus of an atom fits together, both at Canisius and at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Va., where he is a collaborator. He won the three-year grant from the Nuclear Physics Division of NSF.
In the research, Wood will replicate the “Big Bang” – the formation of the cosmos – by using an electron beam accelerator at the Virginia facility. Then, he will observe how subatomic particles find each other and cling together.
“I take the scattered pieces and try to fit them back together to figure out the dynamics of the nucleus and the very nature of matter itself,” said Wood, who will collaborate with researchers from Old Dominion University, Argonne National Laboratory and the Universidad Téchnica Federico Santa Maria in Chile.