Here you can find information about the ISEC mentors and some possible project ideas.
Carlos was born in Málaga and raised in a lovely village near the city, with a breathtaking view of the sea from the cliffs. After finishing high school, he moved to Madrid to continue his studies. He graduated in both Mathematics and Physics at the Complutense University of Madrid in 2016, and in 2017 he completed his Master in Education and Teaching Formation. He worked at SEK Catalunya International School for one school year (2017-2018). Carlos taught Physics and Mathematics, including IB Physics and Mathematical Studies. He can only speak positively about all his students – they passed their exams with great marks and did outstanding small research projects during the school year. Carlos currently works at the Complutense University of Madrid. He is doing a PhD in Quantum Thermodynamics, working with numerical simulations of several quantum systems.
He finds Physics to be one of the coolest branches of science, and Mathematics the most beautiful and elegant. If you take a bunch of the first and a bit of the second, mix and shake, you end up with the tools to explore some really fascinating things! And if you stumble into a wall of unintelligible equations you couldn’t solve in a million years, why not turn to Turing’s invention – computers! Carlos is ready and excited to help you with Maths, Physics and numerical simulations.
What can you do this summer? Some of the ideas require numerical simulation to model physical and mathematical topics. Can you gain insight into how the planets and Sun in the solar system move in relation to one another through a computer simulation? Did you know that you can study the thermodynamic properties of an ideal gas in a cage by simulating the motions of billiard balls? You can even run a simulation of the ferromagnetic Ising model to explain why some materials are permanent magnets! If you are interested in these topics, but new to coding, don’t worry – you can work on a beginner-friendly coding project with the help of your partner and mentor.
If coding doesn’t appeal to you, there’s also plenty of other science you can do! Are you curious about the wonders of the quantum world? From the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics to specific topics such as quantum entanglement, quantum teleportation, and quantum information, there is a plenty for you to learn about quantum physics. And then there is thermodynamics. What is entropy and how is it linked to time? What is the thermal death of the universe? Is there anything that can keep moving forever or will it eventually stop at some point? You can explore how thermodynamics is relevant in almost every field of science.
Some of these projects will require a strong maths, physics, or coding background, while others will be suitable for everyone, regardless of their previous skills. There are other projects that fall somewhere in between and will require just a tiny bit of algebra, calculus or coding. Advanced students can even work on a project that is directly related to Carlos’ PhD research dealing with quantum thermodynamics through numerical simulations.
Özgür Can was born in Istanbul, Turkey and he spent his childhood years in a small village near the Aegean Sea in Western Turkey where he had the opportunity to observe the Milky Way every clear night. He is currently studying for a Master’s Degree in Astrophysics at The Middle East Technical University and working as a Research Assistant. His research topic is mainly focused on X-Ray Binaries and the anomalies in their accretion disks.
Özgür has been an active member of the Astronomical Society of his university. He was part of the organizing committee for the National Astronomy Congress of Turkey in 2014, 2016, and 2018. He was alsoan advisor to the organizers of Turkey’s first Astrobiology Conference. Özgür also traveled all around Turkey and spent most of his time giving lectures on astronomy and popular science. He presented his research at the International Conference for Physics Students in 2017.
Since 2013, Özgür has worked as a Columnist for the Bilim ve Gelecek (Science and The Future) magazine. He writes popular science articles, which will soon be compiled and published in a book. One of his science fiction stories was selected by Nbeyin Magazine and was published alongside other captivating stories. He also writes articles about the philosophy, history, and methodology of science. Together with the astronomical society, Özgür has spent many nights observing the sky and taking time-lapses with his DSLR camera. Özgür has many other talents and interests, including Japanese Martial Arts and composing music on his guitar and harmonica. You’ll have a chance to hear some of his talent at camp!
Özgür can be a mentor for a wide range of projects across many different fields. He will be able to mentor programming and computation projects aimed at exposing beginner coders to Python and R. Are you interested in using Python to visualize planetary orbits or to examine an astrophysical source through Python Libraries? Or maybe you are interested in using R and discovering how scientists analyze data from the Human Genome Project? If you want to learn more about topics in History of Science, Özgür will be your go to man. Are you interested in measuring the Earth’s circumference using various methods, including those of Erathosthenes? Or would you like to observe a rainbow through a prism and prove Snell’s Law? Maybe you want to understand how the Scientific Method evolved from the works of Ancient Civilizations. If you are interested in reading philosophical texts, Özgür can answer your questions as you interpret the texts of Descartes, Pythagoras and the Miletian Natural Philosophers.
Radka was born in Košice, Slovakia, but mostly grew up in the suburbs of Boston in the USA. She spent most of the last ten years in southern California, completing a Bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from the California Institute of Technology and working on research at the Owens Valley Radio Observatory. Her multi-wavelength research focused on blazars, complex black hole systems which spew a large amount of energy and radiation towards our Earth via relativistic jets. Luckily, these objects are so far away, that this energy is not harmful to us. Instead, by studying the radiation from these objects, scientists can gain insight into powerful jet processes. Since graduating from Caltech, Radka has turned her energy away from research, and is instead pursuing science and astronomy outreach as a museum guide at the famous Griffith Observatory.
In addition to astronomy research and outreach, Radka spends her free time trying to find the darkest night skies for her astrophotography. More complex trips involve gathering up her camping gear and backpacking to remote locations to truly escape light pollution. Her favorite styles of astrophotography are nightscapes and timelapses, which only require a DSLR camera and tripod. When her mind isn’t focused on astronomy, she spends time coaching Ultimate Frisbee at both the high school and college levels. Coaching has given her a new appreciation for ensuring that students have a healthy outlet for their stress, and are able to give their brains a rest and pursue other interests.
If you have an interest in astronomy or astrophysics, ISEC will be a perfect match for you. Under Radka’s mentorship, you will be able to learn new concepts regarding the Universe we live in. Are you interested in determining the rotation rate of an asteroid? Maybe you are interested in binary stars and want to calculate the period of such a system. What are the different stages of a star’s lifetime and what conditions are necessary for a star to become a black hole? Can our analysis of publicly available data support the theory of the existence of dark matter? What are the conditions under which our Universe will keep expanding forever? You can use your time at ISEC to gain insight into the formation of galaxies or to understand how Tycho Brahe’s observations helped Kepler develop his laws of motion.
Some of these projects will require either some prior coding knowledge or a willingness to learn as you go. If you aren’t interested in coding, you can grab a pencil and notebook and scribble astrophysical equations until you begin to understand important physical properties of our Universe. Other projects can take you back to the days before computer simulations and complex equations helped to explain the motions we see in the heavens. After all, our earliest ancestors were astronomers – they tried to make sense of the light that they saw when they looked up at the dark night skies.
Additional Mentors will be added based on the specific interests of our applicants. Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or concerns about the availability of a Mentor in your particular area of interest.