Hamza Alsamraee

Class of 2019


Hamza Alsamraee is a rising senior at Centreville High School in Clifton, Virginia. He is the founder of his school's "SciTeam", an all encompassing STEM competition club. He has won many awards in the competitions he introduced, notably finishing off third in the state alongside his Science Bowl team and being a 2019 Chemistry Olympiad finalist. On his account on the STEM website, he has shared over 250 problems and solved many more, reaching over 33,000 people globally in the process. He has now ventured off to research, both in the fields of computational biology and mathematics. Markedly, Hamza is now being mentored by professor Yongwu Rong to research geometric measure theory, in which he attempts to utilize concepts from physics to develop the novel field. He enjoys wrestling, Olympic lifting, and reading philosophical essays in his free time. His favorite books are A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant.

Project: A Computational Method to Predict Reference X Ray Diffraction (XRD) Patterns


XRD has been instrumental to the advancement of many fields in both science and technology. Each distinct lattice structure has its own XRD fingerprint, which scientists use to determine the chemical makeup of the lattice and in turn its physical properties. In this project, a large mathematical framework was utilized to effectively predict XRD patterns produced by various cubic lattice structures.

Summary of Results

A simple formula (Bragg's law) was used to predict peak positions, each corresponding to a specific plane. The atoms' specific electron density was then accounted for using the atomic form factor. The structure of the lattice was then accounted for using the structure factor. A Lorentz polarization correction was also introduced to improve accuracy.

Future Work

Thanks to Mr. Wolfram, I certainly have a lot to do this summer! I was initially inspired to predict even the structure of the crystal lattices using first principles until I found out it was an open problem since the 1950s! Perhaps the most ambitious of my future plans is doing the inverse problem: predicting the lattice structure from a given XRD pattern. I would like to thank my mentor, Eryn Gillam, for helping me throughout my project and, most importantly, for reminding me to divide by two. I would also like to thank the other mentors for their help and Mohammad for his lectures. The copper XRD pattern I used came from “From X-Ray Diffraction Studies of Copper Nanopowder” (arXiv:1003.6068v1).