2021 FYSRE recipients Annudesh and Valentina share summer research plan

May 11, 2021
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Annudesh Liyanage (left) and Valentina Mazzotti (right), recipients of the 2021 FYSRE awards

Every year, a few exceptional first year students are offered summer research opportunities through the Erich Vogt First Year Summer Research Experience Program. We would like to congratulate Annudesh Liyanage and Valentina Mazzotti for receiving the 2021 FYSRE awards! 

FYSRE (pronounced phyzzer, as in physics) offers summer research experiences to budding academic stars after their First Year Physics courses. It is difficult for first year students to compete against more experienced upper year students for research opportunities, and FYSRE aims to give a few outstanding first year students research opportunities This award honours Dr. Erich Vogt (1929-2014), one of the most distinguished Canadian nuclear physicists of his generation - who strongly believed that first year students with a passion for physics deserve a chance. 

We also have an update from 2020 FYSRE recipient Justin Lawrence, who is applying his award this summer instead. Let's see what the three FYSRE recipients will be up to.

2021 Recipients

Annudesh LiyanageAnnudesh Liyanage will be working with the Ultracold Neutron group at TRIUMF under the supervision of Dr. Ruediger Picker. One of the lab's key focuses is the neutron electric-dipole moment experiment, whose results may give us information on the matter-antimatter asymmetry in the universe.

"I am still unsure of what path I want to pursue (as is the case for many [first-year-students]) and the main cause for this is my lack of hands-on experiences," said Annudesh. "This opportunity provides me with a chance to finally gain exposure to experimental physics and hopefully, it can shed light on what areas of this field interest me the most."

Valentina Mazzotti will be working with UBC Physics & Astronomy Professor Dr. Andrea Damascelli at the Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute (SBQMI). She will have the opportunity to use spectroscopic techniques to study the electronic structure of unconventional oxide superconductors. More specifically, she will be working on the hardware and the software required to track the position of micrometre size samples inside the ARPES spectrometer during laser-based photoemission experiments on cuprates and other quantum materials.

"I’m thankful to have received this award, which will give me the opportunity to do research in the exciting and fast-growing field of condensed matter physics at SBQMI," said Valentina. "Exploring quantum materials and their potential and future applications with the company of other researchers will be an amazing learning experience and I am sure I will personally gain a lot of value from it."

2020 Recipient

Justin LawrenceDue to COVID-19, last year's FYSRE recipient Justin Lawrence decided to apply his award this summer instead. He recently joined the lab of UBC Physics Professor Dr. Scott Oser to to determine how non-galactic dark matter could affect the signals observed by direct dark matter searches, specifically for the SuperCDMS experiment.

"It's been fascinating learning about particle physics and dark matter so far, and I'm looking forward to trying to apply that knowledge over the next few months!," shared Justin.

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