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Ashley Hubal ’11

For my Capstone project, I investigated the Faraday Effect, which is a magneto-optical phenomenon that can be observed in a number of compounds. My project aimed to look at the affect of an applied magnetic field on the angle of rotation on a plane-polarized laser as it passes through a medium.

I worked on this project in conjunction with chemistry faculty, Jonathan Orr and Dr. Emanuele Curotto. The experiment tied together what I have learned in physics and physical chemistry. Specifically, I designed and carried out an experiment to determine the Verdet constant of a given substance, and this constant is crucial in determining the extent of the rotation of the plane, or the extent to which the Faraday Effect will occur.

While it may seem like a complicated theory, it is a phenomenon that is directly applicable to determining the properties of a given substance, and in recent years, it has been applied to up-and-coming chemical  instrumentation and solid-state chemistry.

Dr. Curotto has been a huge inspiration to me. He was my first general chemistry professor in Spring 2008, and without his continued support, I would never have excelled in my courses as I have. He urges his students to succeed and acts as both an academic mentor and confidant. He has always been willing to work with me through my academic struggles, and he has provided me with advice on numerous occasions about my future as a chemist. He chose me to tutor his remedial and general chemistry courses, and he was the first professor to offer me a research opportunity to complete my Capstone project. He supported me and challenged me through my academic experience, and many of my successes reflect on him.

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