Friday, February 12, 2016

FWS Student Highlights: Pisal Yim

In the fall semester, I had the opportunity to start working with Dr. Art Poland on his research work of monitoring activities of the sun.  An important tool I had to use was Interactive Data Language or in short IDL.  Weekly tasks were assisting Dr. Poland either in debugging programs, editing programs or test programs using data retrieved from Hinode Satellite.  While working with Dr. Poland on his research, I recently discovered that the sun plays a crucial part in our everyday lives.  Besides providing sun light to nurture lives, solar flares and solar storms also cause problems like knocking out power grid.  There were some solar storms in the past but no catastrophic damage was dealt.  Luckily, everything about our planet seems so perfect either by chances or by design, we’ll never know.  With that perfection, there is earth magnetic field that keeps us safe from solar storms.  Nonetheless, it is still important to study the sun’s activities to predict its pattern and when the next solar storm will be. 
As an engineering student, it may not be directly related to my long-term goals but being able to see how scientists work definitely give me a sense of communication in the future if I ever need to work with them.  Moreover, the tool I used as a research assistant which is IDL is a powerful tool whether working as scientist or engineer in the future.  One of its strength is its ability to work well with arrays or matrices.  As of now, I am not quite sure where it would fit in my career path but I’ll never know how things turn out.  Therefore, it is always worthy to have as many tools as possible in the backpack for the grab.