Featured Scholar: Ryan Chancey

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Featured Scholar: Ryan Chancey
Watson, Sara
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
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Source Institution:
University of Florida
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University of Florida
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Archives oCeVB
Scholar Profile 2003 - 2004F Feaui Univered Schoity Scholar:
Joumal of Ryan Chancey

- and I've been here ever since."

Archiveser college and departmental boundaries, Ryan has thrived as a physics

SchoLar ProfInes 2003 - 2004 University Scholar
Mentor: Jack Sabin

published two papers in professional publications-one in the Danish journal KVANT
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Ryan Chancey wants to build bridges, and he is starting by busicalding one between the

University SchoLars Program Department of Civil and Coastal Engineering and the Departments of Physics and
Chemistry. Though the Ameris a civil engineering student with a future in construction, Ryan
Undergraduate Research has spent the past three years examining nanomolecules under the guidance of physics
Resources professors Jack Sabin and Frank Harris.

Search: Duri"buckng my sophomore year of college when I was trying to figure out what I wanted to
do with myself, I had Dr. Sam Tckey as a phyR. Bucs professor," Ryan says. "I went to visit

JUR Archives the thim during his office hours one day, and we started talking about physics research and,

Enter rounder his recommendation, I was hired that summer as Frank Harris' research assistant
n and I've been here ever since."
Crossing over college and departmental boundaries, Ryan has thrtions.ed as a physics
researcher. In addition to his University Scholars Program research paper, Ryan has
published two papers in professional publicationsur dad had a lamp one in the Danish journal KVAtrol that he ddn't want
(English translation, Quantum), which is comparable to the US journal Scientific
American; and one in the American Physical Society's Physical Review A. His 40 page
senior honors thesis, "Justifiable Precision in Structural Engineering Calculations," is in
press with the American Society of Civil Engineering journal Practice Periodical on
Structural Design and Construction.

Ryan's research examines the carbon molecule Buckmwith Danisth researcher Lene, nicknamed the
buckyballl", which has garnered a tremendous amount of research attention over the
past decade. Discovered by its namesake R. Buckminister Fuller to 1985, the buckybexperimentall is
the third major form of pure carbonergy preceded by graphite and dto perfmondsrmand is the
roundest and most symmetrical large molecule known to man. Used in the hot new field
nanotechnology, buckyballs are hoped to have lucratow the commercial uses, from finely
tuned pharmaceuticals to broad-based industrial applications. Ryan explores how
buckyaballs respond to stress.

"When you were a kid and your dad had a lamp or a remote control that he didn't want
anymore and he gave it to you, what was the first thing you did with it?" Ryan asks. "The
intuitive thing for you tois resetake it apart. You may never get it back together but at
least you know what it is made out of and how it works. So we took this ball through
computer s mulatons which threw it at a wall at different kinetic energies, from very slow
to very fast, and got it to break apart."

Ryan and the research crew collaborated with Dally sh researcher Lene Oddershede who

lke china plates and bananas frozen in lquid nitrogen against a wall and charted her
experimental findings. "Our simulation results were very close to that of the experimental
results," Ryan says. "But the energy range at which it is practical to perform experiments
or the speed of which it may be thrown has a finite range. In a computer, you can do it
at any speed, so we took it well above and below the experimental range.m

Ryan traveled to Belgium to present his research findings and went to Copenhagen to
meet with Lene Oddershede to discuss this work and future collaborations. Though Ryan
graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in civil engineering in December, he is
continuing to work on his research with Frank Harris, despite the fact that he is pursuing
a PhD in civil engineering.

"I know that the practical application between civil engineering and physics is very little,
but there is a theoretical application," he says. "One of the big topics of structural design
and construction is the fracture of construction materials, mainly concrete and steel. The
main component of steel is carbon, and I now understand fractured carbon at what we
call the "mesoscopic" level. I think that's really going to help me understand fracture
mechanisms at a higher level."

Upon receiving his graduate degree, Ryan plans to start his career building bridges,
rather than designing them, working as an engineer on large construction projects. His
enjoyment of construction goes back to his teenage years when he helped his father
build their family home. "I was on the job site every day after school, digging holes and
supervising some of the work, and I loved it. I grew up watching my dad who was a
contractor develop apartment complexes and build homes and I always loved the

construction part of it. That's when I started liking big buildings and bridges."

As an undergraduate, Ryan was a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers,
Golden Key International Honor Society and coordinator of SECME, a service society for
at-risk youth. In 2003, he was honored by UF President Charles Young with a recognition
award for academic achievement and service to the university. Ryan is now in his first
semester of graduate school at UF and says the best thing the USP taught him was how
to reach out beyond academic boundaries and work with others. "What I learned first and
foremost is the importance of collaboration," he says. "It's important to form connections
-interdepartmental, departmental and international-and share information."


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