Rita Parai class

Rita Parai awarded grant from US Department of Energy

Rita Parai, assistant professor of geochemistry in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was awarded a $750,000 grant from the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration for a project titled "Seeing through the fission: Multimodal analyses of actinides and noble gas isotopes in geological samples."

Parai, along with co-investigator David Fike, examines uranium and xenon in ancient rocks with the aim of improving methods of measuring decay products. By looking at rocks that are billions of years old, specifically those in which uranium has decayed by fission into isotopes of xenon, Parai will be able to develop very sensitive methods for detecting products of nuclear decay at various timescales. Her sensitive detection methods are aimed at the study of Earth history, but they could also be applied to nuclear nonproliferation.