Feature Stories 2022: Jack Sullivan '23 wins thesis competition

Jack Sullivan
Photo courtesy of Jack Sullivan
Feature Stories 2022: Jack Sullivan '23 wins thesis competition
Jack Sullivan '23 wins thesis competition

Physics major earns top prize in the recent undergraduate Three-Minute Thesis Competition.

Jack Sullivan, a junior majoring in physics at UMass Dartmouth's College of Engineering, is the winner of the three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition, which recently took place on the campus of UMass Dartmouth among various other universities around the world.

The global research communication competition was developed in Australia by the University of Queensland, according to the 3MT® website. Participants have three minutes to effectively explain their research in a manner that non-specialist audiences can decipher. 

Jack’s research focuses on the progenitor system, or origin, of Type 1a supernovae. “These are the explosions of small, dense stars called white dwarfs. We create computer simulations of these supernovae with the ultimate goal of matching the models to data that has been observed with telescopes,” he explains.

This particular research project has helped Jack enhance his understanding of professional research in astrophysics. “I have been able to connect some things I have learned in the research to topics that are covered in my classes. It’s nice being able to get tangible results and see how some of the topics in classes can be applied in the real world. I am hoping to continue my current research and get more research experiences in the future in order to further explore the field of astrophysics.”

Jack has worked closely with his research advisor Dr. Robert Fisher, a professor of physics at the College of Engineering. “Working with Dr. Fisher has been a great experience,” Jack says. “He provides advice based on his own research expertise, as well as from experience working in the field. I think working with Dr. Fisher was a great way to prepare myself for a career in physics, and for life after my undergraduate career.”