Andrew Ratkiewicz graduated from IUSB in 2006 with a B.S. in physics and a minor in math. While at IUSB Andrew worked with Prof. Scott on the abiogenic formation of hydrocarbons, Profs. Lynker and Schimmrigk on solutions to Calabi-Yau manifolds, and Prof. Hinnefeld on developing algorithms for neutron detection using the Modular Neutron Array (MoNA). Andrew then went to the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University (MSU), where he completed his postgraduate study in 2011. At MSU he studied experimental nuclear physics, focusing on nuclear structure – he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the evolution of collectivity in exotic isotopes of silicon and the collapse of the N=28 magic number in 42Si.
Andrew then took a postdoctoral position supported by Rutgers University and hosted by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). There he became fascinated by nuclear astrophysics, which studies the formation of the chemical elements in astrophysical environments. Many of the pathways for the formation of these elements involve neutron-induced nuclear reactions, which are (in most case) impossible to directly measure. Andrew began developing detectors and techniques to indirectly constrain the most important of these pathways.
In 2015, Andrew took another postdoctoral position, this time at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). There he continued his nuclear astrophysics research with studies of the strength of the interaction between nuclei and plasmas using the world’s most powerful laser — the National Ignition Facility. He also continued his research into indirect methods for constraining neutron-induced reactions, for which he won a Director’s Science and Technology Award. Andrew accepted a staff scientist position at LLNL in 2017, and continues his nuclear astrophysics research. His other research interests include deploying machine learning tools to solve problems in nuclear forensics, assessing the impact of uncertainties in nuclear data on neutron transport calculations, nuclear data accessibility, and direct measurements of neutron-induced reactions.
Andrew is a co-author on more than 80 articles in peer-reviewed journals.