"Being connected to my peers has always been important to me, however since the beginning of the Pandemic the importance has grown further."

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Student Profile: Matthew Martin

Physics PhD student in the Faculty of Science

December 16, 2020
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I am a Ph.D. student in Physics working in the nuclear science group under the supervision of Dr. Krzysztof Starosta. My primary research interest is in low energy nuclear physics working towards a more complete understanding of the nuclear interaction.

I grew up in the suburbs of Toronto before a baseball scholarship took me to the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado, USA, where I pitched in the NCAA Division II while completing my undergraduate degree in Engineering Physics. I stayed at the Colorado School of Mines for my Masters in Applied Physics before coming to Simon Fraser University for my Ph.D. in Physics. While not working, I spend my time watching baseball and riding my bike throughout the lower mainland.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

Simon Fraser University offers a unique opportunity in nuclear science where I can spend my time working both in a small-scale lab on campus and at TRIUMF, a large-scale user facility less than an hour away. The ability to perform experiments in an on-campus lab as well as cutting-edge research at TRIUMF allows me to expand the scope of my research and explore areas inaccessible at other institutions.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

My research aims to improve the overall understanding of the atomic nucleus and the forces which both hold it together and allow it to interact with other nuclei. I use the well-understood electromagnetic properties of nuclei to gain insight into the nuclear interaction, with the long-term goal of developing a way to produce clean energy and improve medical tools such as those used to diagnose and treat cancer.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

In addition to the facilities at SFU and the opportunity to work both at SFU and TRIUMF, I am really enjoying the atmosphere of the Physics department. The size of the department allows both for a wide range of research interests and a diverse group of people but is small enough that I am able to know a large proportion of the graduate student population. Being connected to my peers has always been important to me, however since the beginning of the Pandemic the importance has grown further.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

This past year I was awarded the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Postgraduate Graduate Scholarship - Doctoral (NSERC PGS-D). This award has allowed me to continue my research at SFU without additional duties such as teaching. Additionally, the application process for this award required me to spend substantial time working on my ability to present my research in a manner which is accessible to a wider range of audiences than those who work in nuclear physics. I believe this to be extremely important both right now in explaining my research to family members and friends but also in the future when I apply for research grants and other funding.

Contact Matthew: matthew_martin_3@sfu.ca