Najah Curtis (C '22) worked in the Medical Isotope Research and Production (MIRP) group at Brookhaven National Laboratory this summer. She describes her work as follows:
"The MIRP group prepares radioisotopes for the nuclear medicine industry and performs research to develop new radioisotopes. There are two ways these medical isotopes are produced at BNL: one of them is by using the Brookhaven Linac Isotope Producer (BLIP), and the other way to produce isotopes is by using the EBCO Cyclotron. The cyclotron has been used in the past to develop isotopes and will be recommissioned to produce more radioisotopes in the future. These radioisotopes are mainly used for nuclear imaging (like SPECT and PET imaging) and nuclear therapy (medicine that uses radioisotopes to treat different cancers). I helped research how to produce one of the radioisotopes that can be very successful in treating metastatic prostate cancer."
Ann Sizemore Blevins works with Dr. Danielle Bassett's Complex Systems Group in the Department of Bioengineering. She describes her work as follows:
"Biology continually creates new questions and data, and mathematics devises novel methods and data structures. My research focuses on bringing recently developed tools from mathematics into the biological realm to help answer new questions and solve problems. Specifically, I work with applied topologists and researchers in the biological sciences to more effectively use powerful methods from applied topology in real-world data."
Erin Hayes (C '22) works with Dr. Masao Sako in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. The goal of her research is to determine whether or not black holes can make up all of the dark matter in the Milky Way. Though impossible to see directly, black holes can be detected if they pass between an observer and a star. The immense gravity of the black hole bends the light of the star, causing it to appear brighter than normal to the observer, in an event called gravitational microlensing. Using computational methods, she searches for microlensing events in data from the Dark Energy Survey to determine the density of black holes in our galaxy. Based on the number of events found, she will be able to estimate how much of the total dark matter is made up of black holes!
In summer 2019, Erin's research took her to Arizona to present a poster at the 2019 LSST Community Conference as part of the Undergraduate Research Program thanks to support from Dr. Sako and the Physics Department.
In summer 2018, Muriel Leung (C' 19) did research as a Summer Student Fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Her project focused on quantifying the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on coral reefs — no trips to coral reefs were involved unfortunately, but she did get to enjoy beautiful Cape Cod beaches after work every day! Muriel compared experimental records of skeletal density — the one component of coral growth most sensitive to OA — with predicted densities from a numerical skeletal growth model without OA-forcing to determine a statistical relationship between OA and coral density. Muriel's work will contribute to an understanding of how coral reefs and the diverse ecosystems they host are effected by a changing environment.
Rachel Brodsky (C'19) spent the summer in sunny California, working in the Aeromechanics department of NASA Ames Research Center (home of the two largest wind tunnels in the world!). There, she developed a hover test to assess the ground and wall effects of the 80-Foot by 120-Foot Wind Tunnel on hover testing data. Most of her work involved designing a hover test mount, sourcing hardware, and detailing a testing plan for the experiment.
As one of 4 physics majors in her department of 56 interns, Rachel faced unique challenges, but she found herself coming back to her boss's encouraging words from the first day: "I chose you because you're a physics major, and physics majors can do anything. Don't forget that." She has learned so much about engineering, and she is excited to apply the hands on skills she's acquired to her future research!"
In summer 2018, Adri Dropulic (C'19) worked at NASA Goddard, studying the energy and motion of pulsating aurora to help understand wave-particle interactions occurring in Earth's magnetosphere, as well as helping review specs for a high frequency wave detector that will fly on a future sounding rocket. She's also been speaking with NASA Directors about gender equity in STEM, and is helping implement a mandatory panel on gender equity at Goddard for all future interns.
In summer 2018, Abby Lee (C'19) did research at the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology at Stanford University. Her research was on dark matter halo disruption and formation. Abby used high-resolution simulations to study features of halos over time in order to characterize and model dark matter substructure. Abby's research will be important in better understanding our own galaxy, the Milky Way, as well as for use in applications for gravitational lensing. Abby's favorite part was working in such a collaborative research environment and having so many opportunities to go to talks by world-famous physicists, such as one by Roger Penrose! She also enjoyed the perfect weather of the Bay Area, which is always a bonus.
Grace has spent the past two summers doing physics and astronomy research at Penn, in the lab of Dr. Masao Sako. This summer, she has been using data from the Dark Energy Survey to look for blackholes passing in front of stars, by analyzing at how the brightness of objects changes over time. This project is working towards a larger goal: to determine how much of dark matter could be made up of massive blackholes.