Undergraduate Internship in Space Reentry Physics
I participated in a plasma physics research internship at Ecole Centrale, an engineering/science university to the southwest of Paris.
My work involved measuring the spectra of air plasmas in the 160-240 nm range (important for designing space reentry vehicles) as well as processing the data and comparing it to theoretical predictions. We were able to extend the measuring window about 15 nm below previous measurements in the lab and found that the results agreed well with both theoretical predictions and previous work.
I majored in physics at Stanford, and physics research was a big part of my experience there. As I neared graduation however, I found that I wanted to expand my understanding of the physics community. This internship at Centrale Superlec was a great opportunity to do that, and I had always wanted to visit France. The FSCIS fellowship was thus a good opportunity to expand my horizons both academically and culturally.
I am on the brink of starting a PhD program in Computational Biology/Biophysics, which means starting a new chapter of my life working more on biological applications rather than pure physics. This internship solidified my confidence in my decision to move away from pure physics. It was important to me personally as a fieldwork opportunity to reflect and collect data about how I felt in this line of work.