Nathan MajernikPhysics/Applied Mathematics Undergraduate
The goddess Isis was revered as a patroness of magic in ancient Egypt. For IIT College of Science and Letters student Nathan Majernik, it is not magic but rather his abilities in physics and applied mathematics that are propelling him along the fast track in science. Majernik won second place at the 2011 IIT Undergraduate Research Day poster session for his detailed tomography work on a bronze Isis statue.
Under the guidance of his IIT research mentor Carlo Segre, Majernik wrote algorithms to identify and characterize the voids in the metal that resulted from impurities during the casting process, thus allowing for further insight into the statue's construction. He performed high-energy X-ray tomography at a synchrotron beamline at Argonne National Laboratory.
"The basic concept is the same as that used for medical CT scans, but the photon energies are an order of magnitude higher, which brings about some novel challenges," says Majernik.
He notes that besides obtaining valuable research opportunities, accessibility to faculty is another strength of his physics program. "It's so easy to get in contact with them and they’ll bend over backward to help. I'm pretty sure some of my professors never sleep; I get responses within five minutes at all hours of the day or night."
Outside the classroom, Majernik serves as president of Illinois Tech Robotics. The club took first place in the Jerry Sanders Design Competition for the past two years and in 2010, won first in the Tetsujin Walking Race at RoboGames, the world's largest robotics contest. For an encore, Majernik is active in IIT’s theater group, 33rd Street Productions, performing improv, working on technical production, and constructing sets.