Led by Dr. Kenneth Nash, the Nash group is the largest radiochemistry group at WSU. We currently have two post-docs, nine graduate students, and one undergraduate student. We also actively collaborate with other groups in the department, in particular, Pat Meier’s group in organic chemistry. The group is well-funded through various Department of Energy programs.
The primary focus of this group is the separation of lanthanides and actinides via solvent extraction or other less-traditional separation methods. A large emphasis is placed on research geared towards understanding the fundamental chemistry of the different separation processes. This focus on fundamental chemistry allows the students in the group to gain knowledge and expertise in a variety of techniques, including, but not limited to, radiometric analysis.
The Nash group has laboratories not only in Fulmer, the home of the chemistry department, but also at the Nuclear Radiation Center (NRC) on campus. The facilities at the NRC allow members of the group access to macroscale quantities of actinides for experiments. Radiotracer levels of lanthanides and actinides can be used in our Fulmer laboratory. We also have access to a full array of counting equipment in both Fulmer and at the NRC. In addition the group has active collaborations with Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Idaho National Laboratory (INL), and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL). During their tenure as graduate students in the group students will have the opportunity to work at a national laboratory. Students also have numerous opportunities to travel and present their research at conferences.
A weekly group meeting, currently on Wednesday evenings, provides students and post-docs an opportunity to present their research to the rest of the group. This allows them to receive feedback and suggestions in addition to keeping the other members of the group up-to-date with their research. Outside of group meeting Ken has an open door policy and is always ready and willing to talk about research and answer questions. The group has get-togethers fairly regularly and is often invited to Ken’s house for a cookout. In addition to all the hard work and research in the group, we have a lot of fun in and out of the laboratory.