Interns

Over the past few years, I have taken on a number of interns over the summer. This page contains information about my past interns: who they are, what they have done and what they aspire to go on to do.

Louise Smith - 2009

I competed my internship in 2009 during the summer vacation, between school years 12 & 13 in sixth form, studying Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry. I am currently at Durham University studying Joint Honours Maths & Physics, within Natural Sciences.

The title of the project was, 'Relationship between Galaxies and Black Holes'. measuring the velocity of a black hole from the centre of a galaxy, after two black holes combine and escape from the centre of the galaxy. clusters of stars bind to the escaping black hole, which make the path of the combined black hole observable.

I enjoyed visiting an observatory, working with PhD students who studied similar subjects to me, and getting a taste of what a PhD placement entails. Along side learning more about Black Holes and how galaxies behave.I gained experience within computer programming with simulations. I improved my communication, computer and skills. Also developed my maths and research approach. Also a greater understanding of Black Holes, and how they behave.

Mine was a Nuffield Bursary Scheme, which I found out about in the Physics department in sixth form, I attended a meeting where they presented us the basic structure of the program, contact details of our advisor and advertised the Crest Awards which we were eligible to part-take.

After the 6 week placement, I produced a written report explaining the process, approach and findings of the project; alongside an A0 poster summarising all ideas and findings. I both of these along to Gold Crest Awards in Manchester, which Nuffield provided details about; where I was awarded a certificate to acknowledge the standard of my work.

Callum Bellhouse - 2010

I did the internship in 2010, last year and I was doing A-levels at Lady Manners school. I have just finished A-levels and I'm heading to University at the end of the summer to do a degree in Physics and Astrophysics. My project was based on the formation and evolution of galaxies and resulted in plotting the density of newly formed stars in a galaxy against the radius, basically giving an idea of where the stars form. I came back to Preston this year to start work on the second part of the project which is comparing that graph to a final density plot, to get an idea of the net radial movement of stars from where they form to where they end up.

I loved getting the chance to see how astrophysics research was carried out (since astronomy is a subject I really like anyway) and I gained a lot of experience with computer programming and more complex uses for a computer (which I use on a daily basis now) I also had a great time chatting to people who specialise in different areas of research.

For the Nuffield bursary all I had to do was fill in heaps of forms, and then more for the Crest award! I also had to make a poster and presentation for the Crest award to show at a presentation evening later in the year.

Hayden Alty - 2011

I am currently doing my A-levels at Cardinal Newman college. The subjects that I am doing are Maths, Further maths, Physics and music technology. I want to go to University to study Physics and then I intend to go into research or teaching. I chose to do the project because I thought that it would give me a good experience of what it would be like to have a career in physics research.

Tessa Darbyshire - 2011

Studying A-levels in Maths with mechanics, Physics, English Language and Religious studies at Canon Slade School. I want to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University but maintain my interest in astrophysics through the Nuffield scheme and the Institute of Physics. From this project I wish to feed my interest in Astrophysics as well as gaining experience in the field of research.

Charlie Gatehouse - 2011

I have just completed my AS Year (Year 12) in which I studied Maths, Further Maths, Physics, Chemistry and Modern History. I have always had a passion for Physics and receiving a bursary from the Nuffield Foundation allowed me to see what a career in research may be like.

My project, 'Exploring the Morphologies of the Milky Way's Bulge' involved me comparing simulated data to observational data to try to determine whether the theory of Saito et. al. [2011] that the Milky Way has an X-shaped bulge was a strong theory. The results were exciting and will hopefully lead to more work being done.

I am hoping to go to University to study Natural Sciences, as I also enjoy Chemistry, but I think Physics and eventually Astrophysics is the path that I want to take. I am interested in a job in research and so this internship has given me an insight into what that might be like.

Matt Ripley - 2011

I have just finished my second year doing Maths at Cambridge. I've been trying to think about what I want to do after University (not be a banker) and I'd always enjoyed Physics in school, so I got this placement at UCLan to see what working in research would be like.

Ben Thompson - 2011-2012

I have just finished the second year of Physics with astronomy at Durham University. I am currently on a 4 year MPhys course. I have A levels in Maths, Further maths, Physics, Chemistry, Computing, Philosophy and Critical thinking from Nelson and Colne College.

My project involves analyzing the intracluster light of N-body simulations. I have done this project because I would like to acquire research experience in preparation for my PhD application which I would hope to obtain in the future in the field of Astrophysics. I also have always had an interest in Astrophysics for a couple of years and this is the chance for me to explore my interest in front line research.

Sally Woodhouse - 2011

I am currently doing A-levels in Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Chemistry at Cardinal Newman, I have just finished my AS Levels.

I am applying for a physics degree and after that am unsure about what I want to do. I have thought about going into research and hopefully this project will help me decide whether I am interested in research or not. The main reasons I applied for the project are to get experience in research and it also sounded really interesting!

Paul Stanford - 2012

I completed my project in summer 2012, between lower sixth and upper sixth. The A levels I am studying are maths, further maths, physics, chemistry and critical thinking. My project involved me writing programs to organize and interpret a range of data from three galaxy simulations regarding dark matter. The objective of the project was to see how the orbits of these particles affected the shape of a galaxy's dark matter halo. This internship provided an insight as to what real scientific research is like. I would like to go to university to study mathematics, the experience I have had with programming during this internship will be helpful for this.

Henry Andrew - 2012

I have been studying physics, maths, chemistry and psychology at AS level at Runshaw College. In my internship I have been working with Paul Stanford and Victor Debattista. My project involved analysing data obtained by galaxy simulations and writing programs to work out certain statistics about the particles which got closest to the galactic center, it was called: "Orbits of particles within triaxial dark matter halos". I did this internship in the year 2012 in my summer holiday between 1st and 2nd year of college. I did the internship with the Nuffield Scheme, and enjoyed learning about programing and galaxies/dark matter. It gave me an insight as to what being at university was like, and what sort of things researchers did.

Peter Tipping - 2012

I had just finished studying Biology, Chemistry, Maths with Mechanics and Physics for AS at Hutton CofE Grammar Sixth Form when I did my internship. The aim of the project was to create a computer code that output the Cartesian coordinates of the peaks of x-shaped galactic bulges from their Galactic coordinates. I spent 6 weeks on the internship; 2 weeks of training and 4 weeks working on the project. It involved large amounts of coding which was all new to me, a basic introduction to viewing galactic bulges and some new, basic math formulae. No prior coding experience is required which was a great relief. The learning curve was steep but being one of a few interns definitely helped as it allowed us to throw ideas back and forth in order to overcome some challenging, coding problems. The atmosphere is very friendly and helpful which made the experience even more enjoyable.

This internship gave me a good insight into university work and helped me improve my communication skills, self confidence and problem solving abilities, as well as develop a better mentality for working on extended projects; which should be extremely useful in the years to come as I intend on studying physics at degree level and hopefully going into a research career. I highly recommend this for anyone who has an interest in computer coding and wants experience in research based projects.

As a result of his project, Peter was invited to participate at the Big Bang: UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair. This is an animation showing the X-shape of a barred galaxy simulation.

Jessica Mowatt - 2012

I had just completed my second year at Durham University (MPhys Theoretical Physics) when I undertook an internship analysing stellar velocities within galactic bulges obtained from various simulations. The internship was very theoretical in nature, and focused on using and creating Fortran code to measure the kinematics. Representing these values via graphical methods allowed analysis of potential characteristic shapes, anomalies and asymmetries through varied parameters. The aim of the investigation was to attempt to establish relationships between the stellar velocities and the shape of the bulge, using results of the investigation carried out by Charlie Gatehouse (an intern in 2011). Having an opportunity to conduct supervised research has borne many rewards, such as developing group working, presentation and independent/logical thinking skills. It also gave me a fantastic opportunity to develop my coding skills, having only previously experienced some Python at Uni (and Logo in primary school!). I thoroughly enjoyed working at UCLan, the environment was very welcoming and heavily focused on education, displayed through the helpful and friendly staff within the department and the multitude of seminars hosted each week. The opportunity to undergo a theoretical internship was not only extremely helpful in finalising my decisions to continue with a theoretical physics degree, but has also fuelled my desire to aim for a PhD and has provided me with a small glimpse of what may be in store in the future.