Research, right. Sounds a big word to discuss about or is it? Much of one’s insti life is spent in deciding whether to take up a job, go on to build their own venture or pursue higher studies. To the uninitiated, this decision is quite daunting. There is a general inertia in the mindsets of the people regarding research being boring, time-consuming and might not yield that amount of productivity ratio to one’s input levels. We plan to discuss much of these issues in a series of blogs including testimonials of people who have gone through this stage themselves. They’ll speak about their own dilemmas, their challenges, their solutions to such issues and above all their learning experience because: ‘Knowledge is the supreme goal’.
The purpose of this series is to present to you the various elements in the field of research for one to make an informed decision to choose your career paths. So get all your previous dogmas out of the way and read through.
Having said all of this, we should know about the possible options available to set on this path of ours. On a high level; research internships, in-sem projects, summer programs, BTP and DDP define a overall view of our course of action. In this write-up, we discuss about the first option.
Why should one take up a research internship?
Research internships are a great way for students to get engaged in some original work right at the undergraduate level at places with having different work ethics to your very own which is indeed a great skill to learn. It gives the students a platform to apply the knowledge they have learnt through courses and learn practical problem solving skills. In addition to this, it gives one a unique exposure to the cutting edge technologies in some of the top research labs in the world. In case of university internships, it also helps bridge the gap between the undergraduate and graduate students, giving them a good idea of what kind of work they’ll get to do, if they opt for a Phd later on.
Hear from them:
What better motivation would anything be compared to one’s first hand experience:
Shobhna Misra, a third year undergraduate student in the department of Engineering Physics, shares her experience to us about her research-intern in Japan:
“The High Energy Accelerator Research Organisation(KEK), invited 10 sophomores from EP, to work on various projects, for a duration of 3 weeks, beginning 11 May 2017. This came under the Japanese government’s Sakura Science Program. KEK has two campuses – one in Tsukuba which is an electron-positron accelerator and the other in Tokai on the east coast. We were invited to the Tsukuba campus which is about 70 km from Tokyo. Our airfare was covered and we received a generous amount of money for day to day use.We were divided into 3 groups, with each group working under the supervision of a Professor.”
“Assembling a cosmic ray muon calorimeter and analysing its data is the project I worked on, along with Hrishikesh, Vedant and Prathamesh.
This involved testing a small part of the COMET experiment, based in JPARC and due to start operations in early 2018. The aim of COMET is to verify the existence of physics beyond the standard model, by measuring the rate of coherent conversion of a muon to an electron, μ- + N(A,Z) → e- + N(A,Z), which, though allowed by the standard model, has a very low branching ratio (the fraction of decaying particles that decay by this mechanism). Our assignment was to improve the trigger efficiency and calibrate a calorimeter (energy measurement device), using cosmic ray muons which are showering down on us every second. The cool part of this was that we got to handle the actual components that will be used in the final experiment and understand and assemble every part of the experiment from the detector to the data analysis. Cosmic ray muons were used to calibrate an energy measurement device called a calorimeter. The components needed for this setup were given to us and we had to assemble the experiment. This helped us understand the role played by each component, which also helped us in analysing the data that we collected.”
The general myth is that it’s required to stick to books always and spend hours toiling over the work. But how true is it? Let’s see what she had to say:
Watching 70yr old elders lead the charge and 5yr olds enthusiastically follow without breaking a sweat or complaining was the perfect example of Japanese culture.
“ It obviously wasn’t all work. We had the time of our lives exploring the country! The nearby Mount Tsukuba happens to be a popular trekking destination. So, up we went accompanied by entire Japanese families for whom Sundays are spent trekking up hilltops. Watching 70yr old elders lead the charge and 5yr olds enthusiastically follow without breaking a sweat or complaining was the perfect example of Japanese culture. Heck, people brought their dogs too! KEK rents out bicycles for free to its visitors. We took full advantage of that to cycle to the city center, to the base of Mount Tsukuba and for grocery shopping. Over the weekends we visited Tokyo, stayed overnight and had great fun there visiting popular sites and walking through some neighbourhoods.“
To end or not to end:
We feel that this short introduction over the research internship planning helped ignite that researcher in you. The other galore of options would be discussed subsequently in the upcoming blogs. Stay tuned.