Mines PhD student wins Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Graduate Fellowship
Spencer Fretwell, a PhD student in the Department of Physics at Colorado School of Mines, has been awarded the Nuclear Nonproliferation International Safeguards Graduate Fellowship sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The prestigious fellowship provides financial support for exceptional students pursuing technical doctoral research relevant to the field of nuclear nonproliferation and international safeguards policy.
As part of his fellowship, Fretwell will be working with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under the direction of Dr. Stephan Friedrich, deputy leader of the laboratory’s Rare Event Detection group.
Fretwell’s PhD work is focused on new superconducting tunnel junction detector development for fundamental and applied science. These new detectors will be used for neutrino dark matter experiments as well as to measure plutonium isotope ratios of small particles with unprecedented accuracy for nuclear safeguards applications for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
“We are going to implant radioactive material into our detectors and make some of most accurate measurements of nuclear decays ever,” Friedrich said. “The fellowship allows us to use the same experimental approach for accurate measurements of plutonium particles that the IAEA is interested in for monitoring nuclear materials production.”
Fretwell, who also received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Mines, is advised by Kyle Leach, assistant professor of physics.