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UW Grad Student from Star Valley Earns Quantum Mechanics Fellowship

June 8, 2017
man, woman and baby seated on the ground
UW graduate student Josh Heiner, here with wife Debra Lynne and son Pierre, is in New Zealand this summer as part of a National Science Foundation fellowship studying a new approach to quantum mechanics. (Josh Heiner Photo)

A University of Wyoming graduate student has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) fellowship that is taking him to New Zealand this summer to study quantum mechanics.

Josh Heiner, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in UW’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, received funding for the research under NSF’s East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes program, in conjunction with the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Heiner will work with Joshua Bodyfelt, a research officer with the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study, who earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from UW in 2003.

“I was able to make this contact because (Bodyfelt) is an alumnus who has kept in contact with our department at UW,” Heiner says. “Basically, he has the expertise and skill set needed to help model an innovative way to understand the interaction of subatomic particles, also known as quantum mechanics.”

Heiner works under UW physics Professor David Thayer, who was the first to suggest the innovative nonlinear dynamic modeling of quantum particles.

Heiner will work under Bodyfelt’s supervision to seek further insights into the new approach, preliminary results of which were published last month by Heiner and Thayer in the International Journal of Advanced Research in Physical Science. Heiner will have access to a supercomputer at Massey University in Auckland, New Zealand, for the highly complicated nonlinear computational modeling involved in the research.

Heiner, who is originally from Star Valley, received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Idaho in 2014 and then came to UW to pursue graduate studies.

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