What have you been working with during your stay at UCSB?
Linus:During the summer I have worked in the Seshadri group with my mentor Clayton Cozzan. The research in the group is at the interface of physics, chemistry and material science and is focused on the crystal chemistry and crystal structure of functional inorganic materials. I have worked with Clayton in the field of phosphor-converted solid state white lighting. Except for assisting him in his research, I have also developed and established new experimental equipment used in research in this field.
Simon: This summer I have been working with my mentor Tyler Ray in the experimental part of Matt Begleys group. The aim of my project was to create ordered two phase composites using acoustic focusing with additive manufacturing techniques. This research creates a pathway to better mechanical properties of 3D printed parts and also multifunctionality of the material by enabling conductivity dependent on the order.
Lisa: I have been working in Professor Stephen Wilsons group, where my mentor Xiang Chen and I have been trying to realise superconductivity in the 5d Mott insulator Sr2IrO4 by ionic gating using ion gels. Since it was a completely new project to the research group, a huge part of the work was preparing for the experiments by setting up the equipment and investigate how well it would work for our purpose. The last week we could finally perform some gating and get some results.
What have you learned?
Linus: A lot! I have of course learnt a lot about the different parts related to the subject: inorganics, crystal structure, crystal chemistry and optics. I have also learnt a lot from all the talks and seminars I attended. The seminars, non-compulsory but very fun and informative, covered many different subjects ranging from research ethics and organic chemistry to 3D-printing and how to best present research data.
Simon: Of course I learned a lot about my particular project but also how research is conducted within academia and how it is to work at a university. It has also been a great opportunity to learn about American culture and to experience the SoCal vibe!
Lisa: My project was completely new to me so I have learned a lot about superconductivity and ionic gating. Except from that we have had the opportunity to practise on how to present research both with power presentations and a poster session. I have never made a scientific poster before so that was a good thing to practise.
What differences have you found between UCSB and Chalmers?
Linus:.Tough one! At UCSB I worked in a research laboratory which, at least from my standpoint, was completely separated from the undergraduate education. At Chalmers, however, I have had little insight in any research. This makes it hard to do a fair comparison between the two.
Simon: Well, one of the biggest differences is the weather. What they call a rainy morning, which happened once, in Santa Barbara we would call mist in Gothenburg. I was also surprised to realize that Master degrees are much more uncommon within engineering in the US than in Sweden, instead most people who go to grad school go for PhDs. Also, I missed the Swedish fika breaks.
Lisa: The undergraduate students here seem to have a lot of opportunities to be a part of a research group early on and participate in research during the summers in different kind of internships. Another thing was that we had to go through a lot of different safety trainings before we could enter the labs, but in the end I think the lab safety is the same or even better at Chalmers.
Did you meet any other students during your stay, and did you participate in any activities?
Linus: Yes. I lived in the same house as other European as well as American interns, all doing different research but within the same internship. There was always something to do, and we all ended up as really good friends.
Simon: Yes! We were around 30 interns, both American and European who stayed at the same place. We had a great summer together going on trips, playing volleyball and having a bunch of BBQs and dinners.
Lisa: Yes, I have been sharing apartment with three other girls from Germany, the Netherlands and America and we have been living in the same area as all the other interns from Europe and America so we have been spending a lot of time together. We have had cook-offs, been to the beach, taking weekend trips and all sorts of things.
Did you get the opportunity to see something outside campus during your visit?
Linus: Yes, definitely! Although we worked hard during the days, every afternoon and every weekend were free, and there is plenty of things to do both nearby and a little further away. Almost every weekend some of us went somewhere; San Diego, San Francisco, Channel Islands and Yosemite, while some of us just relaxed at the beach or strolled around downtown Santa Barbara.
Simon: We took the opportunity to see as much as possible of California during the weekends, there are a lot of interesting places are only a few hours away from Santa Barbara. The bigger trips we went on was to San Diego, Los Angeles and Yosemite but there is plenty to see around Santa Barbara as well. Some of us also joined the Excursion Club who arranges hikes, camping trips or other fun stuff every week of the summer, this was a great way to explore the area.
Lisa: Yes, we only worked 9 to 5 each day and had weekends off so there was plenty of time to explore the nearby neighbourhoods and the rest of Santa Barbara. I also went on some weekend trips to San Diego, Los Angeles and the Channel Islands and I am going to San Francisco before I head back home.