Class of 2019, Majoring in Systems Engineering and Physics
In honor of National Undergraduate Research Week, the Office of Undergraduate Research is excited to feature a series of unique research experiences from just a few of our many WashU undergraduates engaged in research.
Graduation Year: 2019
Majors: Systems Engineering (Applied Science) and Physics
Research Funding: WashU Physics Summer Fellowship
"When I took Physics of the Brain my sophomore year, I realized for the first time that many of the most interesting and important questions in the natural sciences and engineering remain to be answered, which helped spark my interest in research."
What type of research did you pursue with your funding?
Last summer I worked on supervised learning rules for spiking neural networks under the mentorship of Dr. Ralf Wessel. We used a time-dependent spike pairing scheme to update the weights of a network to represent a map from input stimulating currents to output spike trains. This summer I worked with the nuclear physics group, calculating elastic electron cross sections for exotic nuclei like Ca-40, Ca-48, and Pb-208. Cross sections were calculated for the Dispersive Optical Model (DOM) as well as some model independent densities obtained from the experiment.
How has your research experience impacted you?
Research has made me more creative in both research and academic course work. When I learn a new technique in a math, physics, or engineering course, I now imagine possible applications to the problems I am trying to solve. Performing research also taught me the importance of persistently acquiring new skills and tools to solve difficult problems.