I spent my summer studying neutrinos with professional researchers
I decided to undertake a Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) project in my second year because I wanted research experience and an insight into the world of professional and academic physics, as well as being interested in the field I was researching.
Not only did I gain an insight into this area, I was a full-fledged part of the Sheffield neutrino research team for six weeks, which was a fantastic experience in many ways.
I cannot recommend the SURE scheme enough to anybody with even the faintest interest in taking their degree above and beyond the norm.
MPhys Theoretical Physics
For my project, I worked closely alongside PhD students and postdocs within the department’s neutrino physics group. I was trying to develop an algorithm for a computer to “teach itself” how to look at the data for a particular particle in a detector and distinguish it from other particles, something which has been done to a degree but which has a lot of room for improvement.
This project taught me a lot about two different fields: physics, where I learned a lot of the ins and outs of neutrino physics as well as the experimental setups required to study it, and machine learning, which I had been interested in for a long time but had not had the opportunity to learn prior to undertaking the project.
The research itself was fascinating, both learning for it and being a part of a wider research group. I was invited to the weekly Neutrino Group meetings, which gave me a taste of what working collaboratively is like within a university alongside giving me experience presenting research, and I think this is an invaluable skill because it will be essential to collaborate no matter what area of physics, or any other field, I end up in.
The scheme is a fantastic way to get experience and connections within the group, and without a doubt cemented my desire to do a PhD in physics, with the possibility of going into research afterwards.
All in all, I cannot recommend the SURE scheme enough to anybody with even the faintest interest in taking their degree above and beyond the norm.
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