Physics Professor, Student’s Research Featured in Documentary
Michael Del Grosso ’23 and Nikodem Poplawski Ph.D., have been conducting groundbreaking research exploring topics such as quantum field theory and quantum mechanics. They have completed two research papers they are submitting for publication, and they are featured in a new documentary airing this month in Europe.
March 27, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
For Michael Del Grosso ’23, his experience conducting research with his mentor Nikodem Poplawski, Ph.D., has been fascinating and rewarding. They are now submitting two research papers to academic journals and their work is featured as part of a new documentary.
During the summer of his sophomore year, Del Grosso interned with Dr. Poplawski, doing what he describes as “graduate-level physics research.” He says that, while challenging, it enabled him to explore research methodologies and mathematical problem-solving approaches.
“I am incredibly grateful that Dr. Poplawski offered me this opportunity,” said Del Grosso, a chemical engineering major with a minor in physics. “The internship allowed me to experience work outside of the classroom, and it truly challenged my academic abilities. My internship allowed me to learn his way of thinking while simultaneously learning the steps myself.”
‘This research gave him an opportunity to explore’
“Michael was very excited about advanced physics and interested in exploring the foundational questions in physics,” said Dr. Poplawski. “This research gave him an opportunity to explore some advanced physics, do some calculations, learn some numerical methods in Python to solve some equations that cannot be solved analytically, and learn how to write a scientific article using a LaTeX document preparation system that is widely used by physicists.”
‘An excellent opportunity’
Their work is now a featured part of a documentary that aired earlier this month in Germany and France on ARTE TV. Dr. Poplawski and Del Grosso were filmed at the University during the Fall 2021 semester. Del Grosso assisted Dr. Poplawski with demonstrations on camera, something he said he enjoyed and would gladly do again.
“I believe he is a great mentor and teacher,” said Del Grosso, who has been serving as a teaching assistant under Dr. Poplawski for the past year. “He is also one of the most brilliant-minded people on campus. A remarkable fact about Dr. Poplawski is he is a descendent of Albert Einstein in terms of mentorship: Albert Einstein → Leopold Infeld → Stanisław Bażański → Nikodem Poplawski → Michael Del Grosso.”
Del Grosso, who was nominated for the University’s prestigious Bucknall Family Undergraduate Research or Experiential Learning Award last year, is grateful for the research opportunities he has had with his mentor. He has explored advanced mathematics and physics, including quantum physics, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, and analytical mechanics, and he looks forward to the opportunities his research experience has already created.
“My work with Dr. Poplawski has been an excellent opportunity because it is a fantastic resume booster that will set me apart from other individuals,” he said. “As a result, I get a lot of attention from company recruiters looking for talented young students.”