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June 2, 2023

Forbes’ passion for physics research finding audience beyond Northwest, leading him to graduate school

By Kayla Holman, communication assistant

Dalton Forbes’ success as a student researcher at Northwest Missouri State University has opened doors for him after his graduation this spring.

A native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri, Forbes completed his bachelor’s degree in nanoscale science with an emphasis on physics.

With initial aspirations of following his dad’s footsteps and becoming an engineer, Forbes discovered his love for science as a high school student.

“I love physics so much because it describes the universe in its entirety,” he said. “We understand so little in the grand scheme of things that it’s a thrilling prospect to think about what we have not uncovered.”

Dalton Forbes pictured on the Northwest campus. (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

Dalton Forbes pictured on the Northwest campus. (Photo by Lauren Adams/Northwest Missouri State University)

At Northwest, he joined an undergraduate research program with Professor of Physics Dr. Himadri Chakraborty and studied computational photoionization. Forbes developed parts of fortran code, a programming language, that allowed for atom analysis.

Based on their results, the research group is preparing a peer-reviewed article with Forbes as the lead author.

“I just progressed far enough in the research to be able to go for a publish,” he said. “I knew it was a really big opportunity. Getting this first stepping stone was a really big experience.”

Forbes will attend graduate school at Montana State University to pursue his doctorate in physics. He already has made connections at Montana State because of his research experiences at Northwest.

“Doing my research here has been a huge help,” Forbes said. “I feel like Northwest just offers a lot of opportunities for a variety of people that allow for everyone to be successful and find their own niche.”

In June, Forbes will present his research findings for the Division of Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics meeting of the American Physical Society. He also is presenting to the International Conference of Photonic, Electronic, and Atomic Collisions, which takes place July 25 through Aug. 1 in Ottawa, Canada.

Along with his accomplishments in research, Forbes was a physics tutor at Northwest’s Student Success Center, where he also helped hire and train new tutors.

“The faculty and staff here take student success very seriously,” Forbes said. “Essentially, if they accept 1,000 freshmen, they want to get 1,000 people to cross that stage.”

After completing graduate school at Montana State, Forbes hopes to apply his learning to advancing space travel and maybe even own a space company.


Dr. Mark Hornickel
Administration Building
Room 215