Chemistry 2011.org
Chemistry2011.org
All About Chemistry... 2011 and beyond

Related Stories

Meet Bethany Jochim: Physics Doctoral Student Studies Laser-Molecule Interactions

Sep. 14, 2016 - MANHATTAN, Kan. — Bethany Jochim's ultimate goal is to exercise control.

No, the Kansas State University doctoral student in physics is not trying to take over the world — just tiny pieces of it that are indistinguishable to the naked eye.

Jochim, from Pierre, South Dakota, is using intense lasers to fragment molecules. Her research could possibly lead to control of the outcomes of chemical processes one day.

"We study dynamics that happen in laser-molecule interactions and then examine whether we can control them by changing laser parameters," Jochim said. "You can imagine in the future that maybe we could use lasers to control chemical reactions."

More immediately, Jochim hopes her work can contribute to understanding in the field of molecular physics, answer open questions regarding simple molecules, and assist in moving research forward to comprehend more complex molecule behavior.

Jochim and her adviser, Itzik Ben-Itzhak, university distinguished professor of physics, present at annual conferences, including internationally, such as Jochim's 2015 trip to Spain to represent her research group at the International Conference on Photonic, Electronic and Atomic Collisions.

A 2011 winner of the LeRoy Apker Award from the American Physical Society, Jochim is a co-author in several science journal publications. She also was a 2009 Goldwater Scholarship recipient at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, South Dakota — now Augustana University — where she earned her bachelor's degree.

Nevertheless, Jochim maintains that her highest accomplishment is simply continuing to learn.

"As an experimentalist, you need to hone plenty of skills, from learning how to operate all the laboratory equipment to understanding how to interpret your data," Jochim said. "I learn so much from collaborating with theorists, people who do calculations, Dr. Ben-Itzhak and the other graduate students and undergraduate students I'm working with. To me, just learning is the biggest thing."

Jochim's research was funded by the National Science Foundation through the K-State Physics Research Experience for Undergraduates program in 2010 and through the Department of Energy Office of Science Graduate Fellowship program from 2012-2015. Her work is currently funded through the J.R. Macdonald Laboratory's Department of Energy grant.

Though the grants and awards are helpful, the motivation that drives Jochim to perform research in the lab is insatiable curiosity.

"This idea of controlling molecules at their quantum level is so intriguing for me," Jochim said.

"Also, when you have problems in the lab that you work so hard to fix, it's sometimes really frustrating, but when you finally have a glimmer of hope and things start working, that's really exciting," she said. "It makes me want to come back the next day."

The physics department is part of the College of Arts & Sciences. Graduate programs at Kansas State University are offered through the Graduate School.

Share this story with your friends!

Social Networking

Please recommend us on Facebook, Twitter and more:

Other social media tools

Global Partners
Feedback

Tell us what you think of Chemistry 2011 -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?

About us

Chemistry2011 is an informational resource for students, educators and the self-taught in the field of chemistry. We offer resources such as course materials, chemistry department listings, activities, events, projects and more along with current news releases.

Events & Activities

Are you interested in listing an event or sharing an activity or idea? Perhaps you are coordinating an event and are in need of additional resources? Within our site you will find a variety of activities and projects your peers have previously submitted or which have been freely shared through creative commons licenses. Here are some highlights: Featured Idea 1, Featured Idea 2.

About you

Ready to get involved? The first step is to sign up by following the link: Join Here. Also don’t forget to fill out your profile including any professional designations.

Global Partners