Francis Marion Senior Presents Scholarly Work in Italy

Samuel J. “Sam” Cathcart (Delta Tau–Francis Marion ’20), an academic senior at Francis Marion University, is presenting a scholarly work at the University of Parma in Parma, Italy. He is making this presentation during the 15th International Conference on Muon Spin Rotation, Relaxation and Resonance. Sam is an undergraduate research assistant at FMU for Dr. Brittany B. Baker. He is completing studies to earn a double major in Physics and Mathematics with collateral studies in Astronomy and Mechanical Engineering. During his work with Dr. Baker, Sam has compiled the information that he is presenting which details Muons and their relationship with the efficiency of solar panels. Sam will present his work as a scientific poster with documentation during the student section of the conference.

Earlier this summer Sam spent 10 weeks as a NASA intern in a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The program was hosted at the University of Alabama at Huntsville in Huntsville, Alabama. He worked at the NASA Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research at the National Space Science and Technology Center on the campus of UAH. His efforts involved improving the forecasting of space weather by improving a computer program called MagPy. This work will help NASA to better predict solar radiation events thereby directing crews of the International Space Station and possibly future Artimus mission crews to shelter when necessary. Sam presented the summation of his work earlier this summer at the University of Alabama at Huntsville in the form of a scientific research poster. He will present his findings again at a National Science Foundation meeting in Chicago this December.

Sam is an Honors School student at FMU and is the recipient of several scholarships offered by the University. In 2021 Sam earned a second-place award for a similar presentation regarding semiconductors during the South Carolina Academy of Science annual meeting. In addition to his scholarly endeavors, Sam plays violin in the Francis Marion University Orchestra and has also performed with the Florence Symphony Orchestra in Florence, SC. He plays violin each Sunday at All Saints Anglican Church in Florence. He is the past president of the FMU Interfraternity Council, current Vice President of the Delta Tau chapter of Kappa Alpha Order, and comes from a KA family with his father, Thomas D. Cathcart (Delta Tau–Francis Marion ’83), uncle, and great uncle all being KA brothers.  Sam is a graduate of Blythewood Highschool in Blythewood, SC where he also played in the orchestra and was a cross country runner. During his high school years, Sam played violin with the South Carolina Philharmonic Youth Orchestra and acted in several plays with the Pine Tree Players in Winnsboro. Sam lives with his family in Winnsboro, South Carolina.