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Economics - Physics major Max Camp Ohio University
Physics major Max Camp

By Jean Andrews
Physics & Astronomy

Max Camp ’16 B.S., a senior in Physics & Astronomy received the “Best Presentation” award at the 2016 Society of Physics research conference for his presentation on particle physics and the search for a Pentaquark, a new kind of sub-atomic particle.

A Pentaquark is made from four quarks and one antiquark. Most particles that are affected by the strong nuclear force are either made of three quarks (like the proton or the neutron) or a quark-antiquark pair (like the pi-meson). The Pentaquark is a composite of the two, which is an entirely new class of particle.

“This is why research like this is important,” Camp explains. “Why some combinations of quarks exist and others don’t exist is determined by the equations of the strong force.  To learn about that force, we need to search for new types of particles.”

Camp has spent the last three summers as a physics research intern supervised by Dr. Kenneth Hicks, Professor of Physics. Camp has worked for almost two years on the pentaquark project, which Hicks likens in scale to doing a Master of Science thesis. They expect to submit the work to the professional journal Physical Review C with Camp as first author.

Camp’s research is conducted at the Edwards Accelerator Lab with the exception of last summer, when he had the opportunity to travel to Italy for an internship experience at the Istituto Nazionalle Fisica Nucleare in Genoato, where he worked on a separate project related to the assembly of a calorimeter. The calorimeter has been transported for use in an international collaboration at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA.

Drs. Ryan Chornock were looking for a number of things as judges of the event.

“Max Camp’s talk stood out among a very solid group of presentations,” Tees says, “because of the breadth of what he’d done during two years of research, as well as his ability to explain the work and its background, especially during the question period.”

“Deciding to do research was the best decision I made as a science major,” Camp notes. “This was my third time presenting at the conference, so it was nice to win after so much practice!”


Max lives in Athens, Ohio Attending Ohio University majoring in physics and economics. Mr. Camp's main interest has been in light and the economy. Currently working on particle physics and preparing for a Masters in Economics.

Data Analysis in the Search for the Pentaquark

By Max Camp
B.S. physics, Class of 2016

I worked with Dr. Ken Hicks on looking for an exotic hadron called the Pentaquark using data from the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA.

The Pentaquark is made of quarks, just like the proton and neutron, however the Pentaquark is made from five quarks (specifically four light quarks and one anti-quark), whereas the proton and neutron each have just three light quarks. Evidence for a Pentaquark was published a few years ago by a Japanese research group.

Max Camp

I tried to reproduce the analysis done by the Japanese group but now from a different experiment done under similar conditions. I had some trouble with understanding some programming code I needed, but I had help from graduate students and Google. I met with Dr. Hicks regularly, sometimes multiple times a day.

I felt great when I finished my analysis and wrote everything up. It felt like I had contributed in some way to our understanding of particle physics.

Max Camp – Intern with Dr. Kenneth Hicks – junior at Ohio University – College of Arts & Sciences – physics major

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Max Camp | ‘Assembly of a Specialized Calorimeter in Genoa, Italy’

Max in Italy

I spent June and July in Genoa, Italy, participating in a particle physics project under the direction of Dr. Kenneth Hicks, Professor of Physics & Astronomy at Ohio University and researchers at the Istituto Nazionalle Fisica Nucleare (INFN) based in Genoa, Italy.

Hicks is a member of a team of researchers conducting a nuclear particle tracking detector experiment at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab) in Newport News, VA, called the CLAS Collaboration.  This collaboration also includes INFN researchers, who work together to build new experimental equipment called the Forward Tagger.

The Forward Tagger project involves designing hardware to detect electron scattering inside the CLAS12 spectrometer, a detector under construction for the JLab. Once the Forward Tagger is installed in the CLAS12 detector at JLab, it will be possible to investigate the kinds of particles that can be formed from quarks when high-energy electrons are scattered from protons and neutrons.  The team scientists estimate that experiments using the Forward Tagger will begin in the fall of 2017.

I was part of a team working on the Forward Tagger calorimeter for the upgrade of the CLAS12 detector. CLAS12 is a nearly spherical particle detector where researchers send a beam of electrons through and collect data on the particles that scatter close to that beam line. In June and half of July my time was spent assembling components of the Forward Tagger and testing it to make sure everything worked properly. Once we assembled this detector, I began to work on programs that would allow us to calibrate it for installation at JLab.

Max Camp at the Tower of Pisa

Max Camp at the Tower of Pisa

All of my previous research before this past summer was data analysis. It was eye opening to have the opportunity to work on the hardware of the detector. An incredible amount of detail goes into building just one small piece of the CLAS12 detector.

In addition to broadening my experience in particle physics, I had the chance to explore a bit of Italy. On the weekends I had available, I traveled to numerous destinations: Venice, Pisa, Florence, or the small towns of Cinque Terre. I also sampled the local cuisine like Genovese basil pesto, which is the freshest in the world. I met Italians as well as people from Austria, Belgium, and Britain. It was an experience I will never forget.

Max Camp Early Years

Max is a graduate of Clermont Northeastern High School Class of 2012. Maxwell also attended University of Cincinnati Clermont for credits in Math . Max was the Captain of the CNE Academic Quiz Team in his senior year. He was a member of the CNE Rockets Marching Band as well as the school concert band. Max graduated in 2012 with honors from Clermont Northeastern High School in Owensville Ohio.

  Max studies nature at the Spring Pond in Rowe Woods