Undergraduate Chemistry Major Makes Groundbreaking Discovery in Materials Chemistry and Sets Sights on Ph.D. Program

Noah Mason doing lab work.

Noah Mason doing lab work.

By Brooke Coupal

Honors chemistry major Noah Mason caught the research bug. The East Bridgewater, Massachusetts, resident enrolled at UMass Lowell unsure of his future, but an opportunity to work in Chemistry Asst. Prof. Michael Ross’ lab led him to discover his passion for research. 

“I’m fully in on conducting research,” he says. “I really love it.” 

As a sophomore, Mason scanned professors’ websites and became intrigued by Ross’ research interests in materials chemistry and nanotechnology. He reached out to Ross and soon became the newest member of the Ross Research Group. 

Over the next two years, Mason received funding to work in the lab from the Kennedy College of Sciences' Science Scholars program and the Northeastern Section of the American Chemical Society and was awarded an Honors College Fellowship. 

“It can be really tough as an undergrad to get funding and support for research, so getting that was a real blessing,” he says. 

Mason worked on a project that looked at combining gold nanoparticles and post-transition metals such as tin, bismuth, indium and gallium. He and the rest of the Ross Research Group discovered that the metallic mixture absorbs high energies of light, like blue and ultraviolet, which gold nanoparticles cannot do on their own. The discovery gained the attention of the scientific journal Matter, which published a paper co-written by Mason about the group’s findings. 

“It’s been so much fun working in Ross’ lab on this discovery, and it’s what inspired me to do a Ph.D. program after graduating,” Mason says. “The next stage of my life, I owe to this project.”