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Austin Skeeters, a 2014 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Award winner, believes the best part about his studies in the high energy physics lab is being able to witness scientific laws proven again and again. For most people, matter and energy are things they have merely been told about, but Skeeters has the rare opportunity to see scientific properties in action with his own eyes.

"The most exciting thing about this research is honestly the proof that physics works," Skeeters said, "It's mind-blowing to see not only that it works, but that the things we do know work with such precision. It's amazing to see it work when you understand it and can reproduce it."

In addition to his physics and chemical science double-major — as well as future plans to declare a triple major in computational mathematics — Skeeters has dedicated his time to undergraduate research for the past three years. He has studied particle detector construction and testing for applications in nuclear physics, standard model confirmation through data mining existing particle collision data and detector optimization using computer simulations of particle collisions and material interactions in high-energy physics.

His mentor, physics Professor Todd Adams, he says, has taught him everything he knows about particle physics and has been patient with every question and confusion Skeeters has had along the way. It is support and encouragement like this that has kept Skeeters invested in his goals and enabled him to keep asking questions and accumulating knowledge to master his subjects.

"Austin has been working with the FSU High Energy Physics group on analyzing data from the D0 and CMS experiments at Fermilab and CERN," Adams said. …