Physics Takes a Student to France

UCF Physics’ Ph.D. student Chi Hong (Isaac) Yuen received a Chateaubriand fellowship to pursue research in France. He is spending eight months overseas to study the destruction of carbon dioxide molecules and the formation of the ozone molecule in collaboration with the Ecole Centrale de Paris, the University of Le Havre and the University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne.

This fellowship is offered from the French Embassy in the part of a collaborative process between the U.S. and France. Fellowship recipients are selected through a merit-based competition. Yuen was inspired by UCF professor Viatchelsav Kokoouline, Ph.D., to apply for the Chateaubriand fellowship.

“He strongly believes that it is very important for graduate students to be exposed to different research environments and extend their professional network,” Yuen said. “Therefore, he suggested I apply for the Chateaubriand fellowship.”

Kokoouline’s work in the field of theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics originally inspired Yuen to apply to the Physics Ph.D. program at UCF.

“I became very interested in theoretical atomic, molecular and optical physics,” Yuen said. “UCF is widely recognized in this field, and in particular, professor Kokoouline’s work is outstanding.”

Once admitted to UCF, Yuen focused his research on atomic and molecular processes in the Earth’s atmosphere, the interstellar medium and plasma. His plasma-centered research will help other researchers build nuclear fusion reactors, contributing to the advance of the semi-conductor industry. His research on Earth’s atmosphere involves monitoring the atmospheric ozone, the molecule protecting life on Earth from ultra-violet radiation. His interest in destruction of carbon dioxide atoms contributes prominently to understanding greenhouse gases.

While in France, Yuen will be continuing his focus on destruction of carbon dioxide molecules as well as the formation of the ozone molecule, both done by using a computational method. His work on carbon dioxide will be researched alongside Mehdi Ayouz, Ph.D., and Ioan Schneider, Ph.D. Vladimir Tyuterev, Ph.D., will be collaborating with Yuen on ozone formation.

“I know that the opportunity to work in France is very important for my academic career, because I will be able to learn more from different experts in my research field, reinforce and establish different collaborations and extend my professional network,” Yuen said. “I can also work on different projects and gain more research experience.”

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