Undergrad USRA Projects 2019
(This is a partial list. Faculty members who are not listed here might also be interested in supervising students; please contact them directly.)
More 2019 Summer USRA projects will be posted soon. Please check back later.
(Note: Dr. Milner might not have funding to confirm the hiring until April, so if you are interested in the project anyway, please list it as your 3rd choice)
Our research group on Quantum Coherent Control uses ultrafast lasers to control and study the behaviour of molecules and their interaction with classical and quantum environments, e.g. beams of light, external magnetic fields or ensembles of other molecules. We are currently actively investigating new exotic molecular objects – the so-called molecular "super-rotors", produced in our laboratory using a unique laser system known as an "optical centrifuge". The centrifuge spins up molecules to extremely fast rotational frequencies, inaccessible through any other means of rotational excitation. Many fascinating properties of molecular super-rotors have been theoretically predicted. A few of them have been shown by our group in the last two years, but many more await discovery. In the summer of 2019, we will be working on: (1) the investigation of molecular super-rotors embedded in the quantum nano-droplets of superfluid helium; and (2) the prospect of creating chiral super-rotors, i.e. ultrafast spinning chiral molecules.
2. The Hyper-Kamiokande Experiment
Neutrino oscillation is the only observed phenomenon beyond the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics and may potentially explain why we live in a matter- instead of antimatter-dominated universe. The Japan-based T2K and Super-Kamiokande (Super-K) experiments, and the future next-generation Hyper-Kamiokande (Hyper-K) experiment, are powerful tools for exploring neutrino oscillations, as well as other phenomena such as proton decay testing Grand Unified Theories, supernovae and other multi-messenger astronomical events, and dark matter. As part of the Hyper-K program, the NuPRISM (E61) near-detector aims to maximize the sensitivity on all topics.
The student will work with the UBC/TRIUMF neutrino group, and may choose from one or more of the following projects:
- The development and characterization of a new type of single photon detector for NuPRISM: a multi-photomultiplier tube (mPMT) module including an array of 3" PMTs inside a transparent pressure vessel with digitizing electronics. These tests involve operating a remote motor-controlled 3D gantry system equipped with lasers and monitor PMTs for characterizing the response of the mPMT, and analysis of the resulting data.
- Provide readout and commissioning for NuPRISM prototype electronics. The student would help characterize all aspects of the electronics and confirm that we have met the design requirements, including minimum timing and charge resolution, and limits on cost and power dissipation. FPGA experience would be helpful with the design of the electronics firmware.
- Development of a new machine/deep learning technique to exploit the higher resolution of the 3” PMTs compared to the traditional 20” PMTs in Super-K, for improving particle identification and event reconstruction performance.
- A precise knowledge of the relative positioning of all the PMTs in a detector is necessary to achieve accurate reconstruction of a particle’s energy and direction. The student will be involved in developing a photogrammetry technique with software that analyzes high-resolution photos of the inside of a detector. The technique can be tested in a lab setting in air, in the UBC swimming pool, and the Super-K detector, towards defining a photogrammetry program for the NuPRISM and Hyper-K detectors.
- The EMPHATIC hadron production experiment aims to directly measure the hadron-nucleus interaction processes that produce neutrinos in the atmosphere or a neutrino beamline, to make precision neutrino flux predictions.
3. Quantum Optical Source Development
Contact: Dr. Jeff Young (email@example.com)
Our group is developing sources of single photons that can be generated on-demand within silicon photon circuits fabricated on silicon wafers similar to those used in the semiconductor chip industry. These single photon sources will be used in conjunction with single photon detectors we have already developed, to carry out quantum information processing functions using optimal means of encoding and decoding the information. The project will involve working with a number of sources and spectrometer systems to characterize the emission properties of impurity centres in silicon.
4. Machine Learning and Statistical Mechanics
Contact: Dr. Moshe Rozali
Machine learning shows much promise as a tool in analyzing many-body systems. For example, neural networks have been trained to identify the phases of simple spin chains. In turn, the effectiveness of such analyses is an important benchmark on the resources used by neural networks, shedding light on how neural networks store and process information. In the suggested project we will look at simple examples of neural networks performing physics computations. We will use these results to study the capacity of neural networks and the relationship with network architecture and depth.
CHIME is fully assembled and the team is commissioning it and getting a first look at the data. A student joining the team would help look at data and could also work at the site testing and optimizing aspects of instrument performance. High performance computing skills and electronics skills would be assets.
Our group is starting to construct the Canadian Galactic Emission Mapper (CGEM) to map the northern sky at 10 GHz with ~0.5 degree angular resolution for the purposes of measuring the polarized synchrotron emission in our galaxy. These data will be used to aid in modelling foreground emission for cosmic microwave background (CMB) polarization studies, and for better understanding interstellar structure in the Milky Way. The student will have the opportunity to develop CGEM hardware and/or software and some travel to the observatory site in Penticton BC will be possible.
7. Evaluating the risks of human-induced asteroid impacts
Contact - Aaron Boley Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Asteroid mining is a near-future prospect for in situ resource utilization, scientific discovery, and a new space commerce. While such resource extraction carries significant promise for expanding deep space activity, there are also considerable risks. For example, extracting even a few percent of mass from an asteroid could alter its trajectory and lead to a human-induced asteroid impact. The purpose of the proposed work is to evaluate which asteroids of interest would pose considerable mining risks and to determine to what extent limited extraction is possible. The results will ultimately be used in collaboration with political scientists to construct a model international legal framework for space mining.
8. Plotkin Research Group
Contact: Steve Plotkin Email: email@example.com
My laboratory has recently undertaken a project in evolutionary developmental biology involving the origins of animal multicellularity. For this purpose, we are establishing a stable ctenophore system—a marine invertebrate phylogenetically placed to address this evolutionary question.
This position will expose the student to several aspects of the research program, including the animal husbandry involved in maintaining multiple generations of a non-model organism, as well as quantifying novel phenotypes in transgenic strains by microscopy.
The student will have the opportunity for co-authorship on publications arising from their work, and will have opportunities to present their findings at laboratory meetings and local conferences.
- We are looking for a highly-motivated, industrious, senior student for a 4- or 8-month work-term to assist with experiments designed to elucidate the genetic innovations occurring in early multicellular animals. The work term may be subject to extension upon mutual agreement of the student and supervisor.
- A background in embryology, physiology, cell biology, and/or molecular biology, as well as previous hands-on experience with embryos, micro-injection, molecular genetics, and animal husbandry are assets, but not necessary.
- This work term is ideally suited for senior students with some previous lab experience, who are potentially interested in pursuing further PhD graduate training in developmental biology research. The laboratory is a highly-interactive, diverse, dynamic, intellectual and social environment. Persistence, optimism, good communication skills, and a touch of humor will go a long way towards the student’s success.
9. Hubble Space Telescope
14. Data Analysis for the TREK experiment at J-PARC
Contact - Mike Hasinoff Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of our TREK experimental program is to search for New Physics beyond the Standard Model ( possibly SUSY ). We have constructed a 256 element scintillating fibre target at TRIUMF for a Kaon Decay experiment which we carried out at the J-PARC accelerator in Japan in 2015. The successful student will help us analyze the multi-parameter event data using the CERN software package "ROOT". He/She should have some programming experience and a basic understanding of the LINUX operating system. The student will be located at TRIUMF and be able to participate in all the student activities organized by the TRIUMF summer students.
15. Ultrafast Spectroscopy of Solids
Contact - David Jones (email@example.com)
We employ ultrafast photoemission and optical spectroscopy to probe underlying quantum interactions and states of solids. There are both instrumentation development and scientific experiments opportunities with specific details to follow.
16. ATLAS Projects
The cosmic microwave background allows us to probe the Universe on the largest length scales possible. There are several hints or "anomalies" that may suggest modifications to physics on large scales or at very early times in the history of the Cosmos. In order to assess if such anomalies are real or just mild statistical excursions in the data, it is necessary to find new ways to probe the large-scale Universe. One such new probe is provided by sensitive measurements of CMB polarization, which comes from new modes in the early Universe. The latest maps of large-angle polarization have been provided by the Planck satellite. In this project we will study aspects of sky polarization, and investigate statistical techniques that can be used to distinguish the cosmological signals and to test for deviations from statistical anisotropy. Additional, it will be useful to assess
the power of future (more sensitive) polarization measurement using simulations.
2) DEEP LEARNING IN ASTRONOMY
There are many data analysis problems in astronomy that are best approached using simple likelihood function methods.
However, there are other questions (involving non-linear selection tasks, or pattern-matching in huge databases) that are
more efficiently performed with "machine-leaning" (ML) methods, such as neural networks. One downside to the use of ML
approaches is that it is often difficult to determine robust uncertainties on derived parameters. Another unresolved issue is how to combine traditional and ML methods in tasks that use both approaches for different parts. We will investigate these topics by looking at the use of ML in astronomy, combining data at multiple wavelengths to identify and categorise distant galaxies and assess their statistical properties.
**Project List 2019 from Imperial College London - for UBC-V students going to ICL for two-month exchange
Note: UBC-V students will be spending two months (May - June) at UBC on another project and then go to ICL for exchange (July - Aug.) with one of the possible projects listed below.