Age: 18Exeter, NH
Project Title: Cooperative Relaxation in Supercooled Liquids: Kadanoff's Block Construction and Wilson's Renormalization Group Transformation
A supercooled liquid is one that is cooled below the freezing point yet remains a liquid. A significant application of supercooled liquids is for metallic glasses, which have increased strength, elastic strain, and high wear resistance, which can be used in various mechanical sensors and biomedical applications. It is important to understand the theory behind how supercooled liquids act to develop them for future applications. When supercooled liquids are disturbed by an external force, the time it takes for the liquid to return to equilibrium is much longer for normal liquids. We modeled the time it takes to reach equilibrium of these liquids and compared components of the model with experimental data.
Nadine Meister is an 18-year-old graduate from Centennial High School in Ellicott City, MD and an incoming freshman at Harvard. She is interested in using mathematics and physics to tackle problems in different fields. Nadine is incredibly honored to be named a Davidson Fellow and be a part of this inspiring community.
For her project she studied the dynamics of supercooled liquids. When supercooled liquids are disturbed by an external force, the time it takes for the liquid to return to equilibrium is known as the relaxation time. Relaxation time is particularly important because it is linked to the stress patterns in industrial processes to strengthen the glass and increase elasticity. As supercooled liquids approach the glass transition temperature, the relaxation time of the liquid dramatically increases and diverges to infinity, making the development of glassy materials an extremely complex, difficult process. This inherent temporal instability arising from the poorly understood relaxation processes can dramatically alter their physical properties. We modeled the relaxation time of supercooled liquids and provided new insights on how the kinetic and thermodynamic properties of these amorphous systems are connected. Nadine had worked with metals at the phase change before at a previous internship at the Army Research Lab and kept coming across difficulties and failures, which prompted her to want to study the theory of phase change in more depth.
This project wouldn’t have been possible without the guidance of her mentor, Dr. Udayan Mohanty from Boston College’s Chemistry Department. An integral portion of her work also involved discussing some of the issues with her peers and teaching fellows at the Research Science Institute. She also used knowledge from her Differential Equations class and Chemistry classes, as well as textbook readings and articles that her mentor suggested.
Supercooled liquids have many practical applications in medicine, energy conservation, and engineering as metallic glasses. Despite decades of research, the exact nature of supercooled liquids near the glass transition temperature remains an urgent, unanswered problem. The relaxation time of supercooled liquids increases strikingly fast as the temperature approaches the glass transition temperature. Small changes in development conditions can alter the time scale for molecular motions from nanoseconds to years, making these materials difficult to develop in their thermal tempering and annealing processes. Without a thorough understanding of the relaxation time at the glass transition temperature, current applications suffer from degradation of mechanical properties, namely through embrittlement and catastrophic mechanical failure throughout the material’s lifetime. Nadine’s work on the relaxation time near the glass transition temperature helps develop a better understanding of this important process.
Nadine went to Centennial High School and took classes like Differential Equations and Linear Algebra. This fall she plans to major in physics at Harvard, with a minor in mathematics or computer science.
Nadine is President of a Girls Who Code club at her school, where they develop apps with social impact. One app they developed is called BooksForAll, which channels books and school supplies from fortunate donors to underprivileged schools. Nadine has been an avid piano player since age 5 and performed at various venues such as the Carnegie Weill Recital Hall. She is also co-captain of her school’s math team and state champion Science Olympiad team. In her free time, she enjoys playing volleyball with her siblings.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Working on research in some lab!
If you could have dinner with the five most interesting people in the world, living or dead, who would they be?
Richard Feynman, Rosalind Franklin, Albert Einstein, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Beethoven
In the News
ELLICOTT CITY TEEN AWARDED $10,000 FOR RESEARCH INTO EQUILIBRIUM OF SUPERCOOLED LIQUIDS
Nadine Meister to be Named a 2020 Davidson Fellow Scholarship Winner
Ellicott City, Md. – The Davidson Fellows Scholarship Program has announced the 2020 scholarship winners. Among the honorees is 18-year-old Nadine Meister of Ellicott City. Meister won a $10,000 scholarship for her project, Cooperative Relaxation in Supercooled Liquids: Kadanoff's Block Construction and Wilson's Renormalization Group Transformation. She is one of only 20 students across the country to be recognized as a scholarship winner.
“I am incredibly honored to be named a Davidson Fellow and be a part of this inspiring community,” said Meister.
For her project Meister researched the time it takes for supercooled liquids to return to equilibrium when disturbed by an external force. Her research has the potential to improve the strength, elastic strain and wear resistance of metallic glasses which can be used for medical sensors and other biomedical applications.
Meister will be attending Harvard University in the fall, and plans to study physics with a minor in mathematics or computer science. She hopes to continue to use mathematics and physics to tackle problems in different fields.
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