I spent my summer studying neutrinos with professional researchers

Adam Threlfall
Adam Threlfall
Undergraduate student
MPhys Theoretical Physics
Adam spent a summer on the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) scheme — a six-to-eight week project that allows undergraduate students to conduct their own research.

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.

Adam Threlfall

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.

REF 2021 illustration showing University building and subject areas

Research Excellence Framework 2021

We have been rated 1st in the UK in terms of the quality of our research. In the latest REF, 100 per cent of research and impact from our department has been classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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