This spring, LBC sophomore Gabriel Moreau was named a recipient of the nationally competitive Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship.
Moreau is an international student from Aix-en-Provence in France, where he began playing piano at age 5, first with a private teacher and then in his hometown conservatory, Conservatoire Darius Milhaud. This passion followed him throughout his life, inspiring him forge his own, unique path by majoring in both piano and physics.
Moreau discovered his interest in physics when he attended high school at Lycée Vauvenargues in Aix-en-Provence. He was given the opportunity as a student there to participate in a high school research experience focused on fluid mechanics. His project took first place in the French Physics Olympiad competition. Moreau said that he "liked the feel of physics," and wanted to continue to pursue it.
As a junior in high school, Moreau attended the Physics of Atomic Nuclei (PAN) camp at MSU, a week-long summer program for high school students featuring lectures and experiments led by the faculty and staff from MSU's National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL).
This experience played a big part in his decision to attend MSU, as he explored the campus and made connections with faculty. It was at that program Moreau met Dr. Oscar Naviliat Cuncic, the MSU professor who would become his research mentor.
Moreau is currently a research assistant at the NSCL, where he assists Dr. Oscar Naviliat-Cuncic with his research focused on parity violation in beta decay. Moreau's research involves investigating a small instrumental effect in nuclear radiation detectors, a project which was the focus of his essay for the Goldwater Scholarship.
An interest in the humanities drove Moreau to pursue a degree in physics in LBC. "I enjoy thinking about why we do science," said Moreau, adding that as someone who engages in "pure research," which does not always have a direct application, it is very important to him to be able to explain why his work is important.
Moreau has also valued the living learning community at LBC. The smaller class sizes helped him to make connections both with his peers and his professors.
After graduation, Moreau hopes to attend graduate school for either plasma, condensed matter or nuclear physics.
According to Moreau, the most rewarding thing about his experience at MSU is "definitely the abundance of research opportunities," as well as the ability pursue both of his passions in Physics and Music. "It's also been great meeting a whole bunch of great people and making good friends particularly in LBC."