Remember Sophia Nasr, from our Student Insider column on January 11? She's back with more information for students like you! This time it's all about research.
Research is behind everything we do and use in life. Whether it's the food you eat, the moisturizer you use or the stars you gaze upon at night between finishing homework assignments, research is involved in it all. For York University astrophysics student Sophia Nasr and many other students, research is a big part of their education and future goals. Read on to see how Sonia's research shaped her and how research can help you!
- Research can introduce you to brilliant professors and projects: I began with a research position in observational astronomy with the chair of the department, Dr. Marshall McCall. My next research position (one I still hold today) was pretty much the turning point in my undergraduate life. Under the supervision of Sean Tulin, I work with a model known as the Self-Interacting Dark Matter (SIDM) model, which postulates that dark matter particles collide with each other, and these collisions are facilitated by a new dark force.
- Research can teach you beyond the classroom: I learned how to fully classify galaxies by their stage and type (that is to say, I learned how to tell whether a galaxy was actively forming new stars or not, and whether it was a spiral, elliptical, or lenticular). But I also got to use transformation matrices to transform the galaxies from the plane of the sky to the plane of the “sheet” they reside in, and I actually enjoyed doing the transformations quite a bit. This made me realize that I like working with numbers and formulas. What I am currently working on is formulating a theoretical framework that will help extract important information about particle physics of dark matter. I get to use a lot of Mathematica doing my research, which is a very powerful programming language for making programs that can do things like making complicated calculations for you, make data plots, simulations, and so much more.
- Research can change your future: What helped me realize what I wanted to do was doing research with professors. I get to do theoretical and computational work, which I discovered was really what I love to do! I found my calling, what I want to do in my graduate studies—dark matter using the SIDM model!