Ovation for Lake Larson

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An Ovation for

Lake Larson

Student worker
Extreme Light Laboratory, Department of Physics

March 2019

“During his time at Diocles laser lab, Lake undergone a dramatic change as a person. He gained a lot of knowledge and experience and became an indispensable member of the team. He was able to quickly learn how to do amazing 3D graphics and produced top-notch visuals for the lab. He also brought his previous experience in engineering and fabricating, and built a very impressive apparatus to demonstrate holograms, which was a highlight of a Sunday with a Scientist event this fall. Please give him an Ovation!”

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“Since his time working in my lab, Lake showed both incredible initiative and high-level of proficiency as a quick learner. This includes training and learning of TW and PW laser alignment (he was our first undergraduate to ever align the laser by himself, which is unprecedented). He also showed aptitude in creativity with helping with science outreach projects for the laboratory; in which he helped to develop light-based learning modules for the community, showcased at the Kaneko Light exhibit in Dec. 2018 to March 2019 and the Sunday with scientists at UNL in 2019. Lake has also demonstrated talent and aptitude for modeling optical set-ups and beams paths with Virtual Lab Fusion, AutoCAD, and 3Ds Max software. In addition to this, Lake has shown a high-level of maturity at every level, which includes communication skills, work ethic, and is unyielding in his pursuit to finish tasks efficiently and promptly. Please give him an Ovation!”

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“Lake is currently an undergraduate physics student at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and I have known him for nearly two years during which time he has worked on a number of projects most of them under my direct guidance and supervision. Lake initially started by working on a project that involved setting up laser related displays for a public show in Omaha, Nebraska. A few weeks into this project it was apparent to me and all of my colleagues that we were dealing with an extremely talented and dedicated individual and it was an easy decision to employ him in our group in a part-time capacity limited only by his academic commitments. During a period spanning a little longer than a year Lake has successfully worked on the following projects: 1. Startup and alignment of a Petawatt scale laser system. For this task he helps the laser technician with alignment checks as well as diagnostics of the beam parameters. This laser systems is one of a handful of high-power, short pulse lasers in the US and even its routine operation is challenging and complex so it is quite admirable that Lake has acquired significant expertise in this. 2. Lake worked on a project to upgrade the pump laser system by using LBO crystals for second harmonic generation instead of the current KDP. As a result he was able to achieve a 50% increase in the output of each pump laser. We are in the process of upgrading eight of our lasers using this technique so one can conclude this project was a success. 3. Our laboratory is involved in several studies that involve transport of high-energy ionizing beams through matter. Lake was tasked with installing and using the well-known GEANT simulation software. He was successful in this and has a working knowledge of this beam transport code. This year I expect he will be able to run it in a parallel configuration to speed up complex simulations. He is also conversant with a laser modeling code and optical ray tracing software. 4. Lake has significant graphic skills and has provided us excellent three dimensional drawings of our laboratory, laser and experimental systems. These graphics have been used by me and my colleagues at multiple conferences as well as presentations to federal funding agencies. His latest success are detailed animations to illustrate the science underlying our research. 5. Over time, as Lake has gotten more familiar and acquired expertise with our research, I have determined that he is ready to execute his own research project. During the current term he is engaged in setting up an experiment to measure the spatial and time properties of focused femtosecond light pulse. We expect to apply this in future to determine the spatio-temporal evolution of intense light in a plasma. Besides his obvious technical skills and extensive knowledge, Lake has excellent communication skills and is able to work effectively as part of a team. At the risk of being repetitive, I will again stress that his dedication is second to none and given a task he will get it done in the shortest possible time. If that requires staying late or coming in on weekends, that is not a problem for him. These character traits should make him an elite scientist in the years ahead. His grades are excellent as well so he is fully qualified in terms of conventional metrics for achievement.”