Doctoral Finishing Fellowship – Spring 2023 Recipient – Cameron Shock

From a young age, I always wanted to understand how the world worked and took a deep interest in science. I was constantly asking big questions, such as why do objects act as they do, what happens if you keep cutting an object, and how did the universe begin. This led me to become interested in physics, which seemed to focus on the most fundamental aspects of our universe. I was drawn to the way that physicists use experiments and math to explain the behavior of matter and energy at the smallest and largest scales. I loved reading about the latest discoveries in physics and learning about the theories that scientists were developing to explain them, and wanted to understand for myself. Pursuing this goal led me to my current path.

I began my PhD in 2019 following my Masters, working under the advisory of Dr. Issei Nakamura in the Department of Physics. My research has focused on utilizing molecular dynamics simulations to model highly charged and polar liquids, with emphasis on ionic liquids and polymerized ionic liquids. These materials have potential uses as electrolytes in batteries and supercapacitors, as nanolubricants in molecular devices, for phase separation of HFCs, and much more. These materials are interesting from a fundamental physics perspective as well, since the complicated nature of their dielectric properties are not well understood in the current literature. My work has helped uncover an understanding behind these properties as well as showing the capabilities and pushing boundaries of models used to simulate these materials.

My utmost thanks to the Graduate Dean Awards Advisory Panel for awarding me this finishing fellowship. I would also like to thank my graduate advisor Dr. Issei Nakamura and the Department of Physics at Michigan Tech for the support through this process of the PhD and providing such fantastic opportunities for learning, growth, and experience.