Saturday, September 28, 2019

STIP Student Will Barnett Focuses on Programming a System that Detects Large Ejections from the Sunusing Images Studying Solar Radii

My name is Will Barnett and I am a senior physics major with a concentration in astrophysics. I have spent this summer of 2019 performing research as a part of the URSP program. The focus of my research has been the development of a program that can automatically detect large ejections from the Sunusing images from a telescope that can see up to a distance of 30 solar radii. The detections are marked on the processed images and are then uploaded online.

This project was my first experience conducting research, and I have to say that it was much less intimidating than I expected. The other people in the Space Weather Lab, where I did my research, are very friendly and relaxed. This calm and supportive environment was perfect for my research, as I spent my time programming and would frequently ask for assistance from those around me. My mentor, Dr. Jie Zhang, was certainly extremely helpful in this way. Several times throughout the summer I would be stuck after working on the same issue for a week, but after just a few hours of Dr. Zhang’s assistance I would be able to move on to the next step in the process of my research.

My experience conducting research this summer has been incredibly beneficial to me. The freedom and opportunities to thrive that were provided to me during this project has shown me what I want out of a future career. I desire an occupation that allows me to pursue solutions to problems with a large amount of freedom during the problem-solving process. I strongly commend George Mason University and OSCAR for this fantastic program that has helped introduce me to the professional world. I very much hope that the rest of my career contains many more experiences like this.