Honors Program

Project Presenters

Srikanth Dasari

Title: Figuring Out Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: A Mechanical Analogue of NMR"

Major: Physics/Biology

Faculty Mentor:  Dr. Mark Masters (Physics)

External Reviewer: Dr. Ronald Friedman (Chemistry)

Honors Program Council Liaison:  Dr. Timothy Grove (Physics)


Srikanth Dasari is a Biomedical Physics and Biology Pre-Medicine dual major. He is involved in several organizations on campus – including Pre-med Club and The Big Heart Club – and conducts research in the physics department with Dr. Mark Masters and in the consumer and family sciences department with Prof. Linda Lolkus. He has also served as a student leader for The BIG Event and participated in volunteer activities for Northrop High School’s speech and debate team, the Chapman Scholars Program, the Honors Student Group, and The Big Heart Club. Srikanth will be graduating with distinction in May of 2014. Srikanth was accepted into the Indiana University School of Medicine 2014 entering class and will be matriculating to one of the 9 state campuses in August of 2014. He plans to spend his summer working towards publication of his research and road tripping around the United States with his family.


Nuclear Magnetic Resonance is an important phenomenon which underlies techniques like NMR spectroscopy, for chemical identification, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), for imaging the human body. The theory of NMR, however, is difficult to understand. At present, most college students in chemistry or biology are able to successfully “turn the crank” and use the device, but the models generally presented for the functioning of NMR are confusing. There are a number of different forms of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) - scanning magnetic field, scanning rf frequency, and pulsed rf. Using plastic spheres with embedded Nd Magnets rotating in an air-bearing, two large plate magnets to set the guide magnetic field and a pair of Helmholtz coils to the “rf ” excitation fields, we are able to mechanically simulate each of the different types of NMR. We are able to see the sphere, our approximation of a proton, go into and out of resonance. Using this model, students can gain a foundational understanding of how NMR actual works and can learn what it means for nuclei to resonate.