Spartans at Work: At SLAC, “Everything That I’m Doing Here is Completely Brand New”

Spartans at Work: At SLAC, I am Learning to “Quantify the Energy of Terahertz Fields Using Electro-Optical Sampling”

Intern standing in front of the two-mile linear accelerator at Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Tom George, Electrical Engineering’15, is an intern for this year’s SLAC Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship summer program, where he uses lasers to test the terahertz signals on energy (Peter Caravalho photo).

By Amanda Holst, Public Affairs Assistant

(This summer, SJSU Today hits the road, visiting students and recent grads on the job across the country and around the world. Our Spartans at Work series continues with the class of 2015’s Tom George.)

Every day, Tom George, ’15 Electrical Engineering, walks a mile and a half to get to the facility where he works, but he doesn’t mind.

George is spending summer at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) just outside of Palo Alto, tucked away on top of a hill and across 426 acres. George is one of 20 interns chosen to participate in this year’s Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship summer program, which teaches students how to effectively do research, make a presentation and write a paper.

“People here are showing me how much more interesting physics can be than from what we get in the classroom experience,” George said.

SLAC is a research lab operated by Stanford for the U.S. Department of Energy. For over 40 years, the two-mile linear accelerator has been on the forefront of physics research and is famous for looking into the structure of molecules.

George works in the Linac Coherent Light Source facility, using cutting-edge lasers to test the recent progress of terahertz signals on energy.

Learning to Persevere

According to George, everything that he has worked on is brand new. He has had to learn a new lab program in order to take measurements and conduct experiments, not to mention working with lasers that use pump probe techniques. He’s even learning something about himself.

“I’m learning that I get frustrated at times when things don’t work, but that I have to persevere and keep working and even start over if I have to,” George said.

George’s experiences with professors and fellow students in SJSU’s Department of Electrical Engineering have helped him find a passion for teaching.

“SJSU is more like a family and I love that about SJSU,” George said