Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

All Majors & Minors

Tamas Budner

Alumni Parlee Center Fellow

I’ve always been interested in the intersection between science and society, so the Parlee Center was a natural fit for me.  I believe that science and technology are powerful tools that should be used for the good of humanity. With a growing population in the developing world and increased demand for electricity, coupled with the effects of climate change, developing new and efficient sources of clean, renewable energy will be necessary for a sustainable global society.  I am particularly interested in plasma physics and its applications to fusion energy.

My Major / Minor / Campus Organizations

Majors in Physics and Computer Science / Minor in Mathematics and Scientific Computing

My Research

At Ursinus College, I worked with Dr. Thomas Carroll’s research group in the area of computational atomic physics, specifically interactions among ultra-cold Rydberg atoms.  My work has involved simulating interactions between spatially separated groups of Rydberg atoms, as well as writing software to calculate the ionization path of electrons.  Our projects are often in collaboration with an experimental group at Bryn Mawr College. I’ve also participated in computational physics research off-campus through the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) program at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, which involved accelerating serial code through parallel computing techniques as well as simulating plasma in a magnetic reconnection experiment.

My Parlee Center Fellow Courses

POL-399 (Science and the Common Good); MCS-275 (Science Writing); PHIL-309 (Existentialism); RELS-211 (World Religions); BIO-350 (American Food Supply)

My Parlee Center Civic Internship

I worked as a student intern with the Institute on Science for Global Policy and learned a great deal about topics relating to science’s role in society.  I helped to organize and then attended The ISGP Conference on Food and the Environment at Cornell University that featured debates on topics such as food and water security.  This internship experience allowed me to meet many professional individuals involved in business, science, and government.  I hope to take what I have learned from my work with the ISGP and apply it to the local community.  It will be of great benefit in organizing our public debates on the Ursinus campus.

Life After Ursinus

After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school for plasma physics or nuclear engineering.  I am primarily interested in doing research related to developing fusion energy. “If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” - Isaac Newton