Kenyon In Focus: Summer Science Scholars

November 18, 2019 0 By Ronny Jaskolski

– I was always interested
with the universe, because it’s the biggest thing
there is, and we’re in it. There’s a lot of mystery
and work to be done there. (upbeat electronic music) – There’s not a person alive who hasn’t looked up at the night sky and thought about “where are we,” and “what’s our place in all of this?” (upbeat electronic music) – I’m doing an honors project looking at this time after
the beginning of the universe, called inflation, where the universe went from being small, and hot, and dense, to expanding exponentially and
becoming bigger, and colder. – The transition from the end of inflation to the universe we live
in, is one that’s actually really poorly understood. Do primordial black holes exist? What is the nature of dark matter? How was the early universe formed? This are things we don’t
have the answer to. – [Rachel] We’re looking at a
specific model of inflation, it uses two fields that
interact with each other. We put our models into the computer, and we evolve them over time
and see what they produce. – That type of interaction is something that our methods are able to simulate, but it’s something that no
one’s been able to do before. Doing this at Kenyon
starts with having people that have the desire to think about these really complicated
problems in new ways. And that’s something that you
get at a liberal arts college, because studying Physics
in this environment, makes us better Physicists. – I think having to take
classes outside of physics has really just made me think about things in different ways. It gives you more than
just a Physics perspective on the work that you’re doing. – We’re learning how particles, and energy, and gravity
interact with each other. Something that we’re studying now, will lead to something that
will be really important to everybody in 100 years, we’re just not sure which
path it’s gonna take yet. This project is in collaboration with a colleague of mine from M.I.T., and two other colleagues
from the Netherlands, experts in trying to attack this problem from an analytic side. – We went to M.I.T., we were comparing our non-linear runs to their linear analysis, and we did see the two
line up pretty well. That was really exciting. The level of my understanding
was a lot deeper than I had anticipated. I think that my two years
in Cosmology prior to that had given me enough baseline, that I could keep up with everyone else. I impressed myself. Right now I’m applying to
get my Ph.D. in physics. I think a research based
career would be pretty cool. Thinking about these
questions and answering them, it’s very fulfilling. – It really makes me happy to see students turn from students into collaborators. That’s something that
makes me really proud. I don’t see any possible universe in which Rachel and I
don’t have a publication by the end of the year.