Meet Our Past Interns - 2010

  • Climate and Energy
  • Abiola, Solomon ‘12

    Physics
    PROJECT

    Atmospheric Pollution Monitoring Research

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    ADVISER(S)

    Gerard Wysocki, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering

    The goal of this research project was to develop atmospheric pollution monitoring capability utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) technology. There is an increased need for trace-gas sensing over large areas with high spatial and temporal resolution. To address this, there exist several technologies, with vehicular deployments gaining popularity. However, such deployments have high maintenance and ownership costs, for which low-cost UAVs would be a feasible solution. In Professor Wysocki’s laboratory a new prototype of laserspectroscopic sensors have been developed in collaboration with the Mid-Infrared Technologies for Heath and the Environment (MIRTHE) Research Center to enable UAV monitoring of trace gases. During this eight week internship, I worked in a unique collaborative environment and was able to explore other environmental monitoring technologies developed by MIRTHE partners.

  • Anwar, Raheel ‘12

    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    Anwar_Raheel.jpg
    PROJECT

    Experiments with Thalassiosira Weissflogii (TW) in Relation to Carbon Dioxide Concentrations

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    The Morel Group, Princeton University

    ADVISER(S)

    Francois Morel, Albert G. Blanke, Jr., Professor of Geosciences. Yan Xu, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Geosciences

    This summer I worked with the phytoplankton algae Thalassiosira weissflogii (TW) in order to study how the changing global environment, with increasing carbon dioxide concentrations, is affecting algae, the powerhouses of the ocean. TW cells are important because they are able to use a special enzyme called cadmium carbonic anhydrase (CDCA) to convert carbon dioxide into bicarbonate and vice versa. Higher carbon dioxide concentrations in the oceans, due to anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions, result in a more acidic ocean (lower pH levels). Over the summer I did experiments to determine how these changes in pH and hence, carbon dioxide levels, affect the CDCA enzyme. I learned that higher pH levels (8.0+) mean a higher expression of the enzyme, while lower levels (7.7) result in a much lower expression of the enzyme. Another part of my research this summer was to try to isolate TW chloroplasts as a whole organelle without significant residual cell debris in order to see whether the CA enzyme was located in or outside of it. Over the summer I was able to accomplish this goal and have observed so far that CA activity does not seem to occur in the isolate but does occur in a whole cell solution.

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  • Butnariu, Dana ‘13

    Computer Science
    PROJECT

    Dynamic Server Load Balancing Across Data Centers

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Computer Science Department, Princeton University

    ADVISER(S)

    Jennifer Rexford, Professor of Computer Science

    During the summer I worked in the Computer Science Department at Princeton University as part of Professor Jennifer Rexford’s research group. My internship project focused on developing an application that would dynamically load balance client requests across data centers in order to lower energy demands and costs. For the first half of the internship, we designed and implemented a load balancing algorithm that takes into account server position and usage when deciding which server must handle a certain client request. The algorithm tries to minimize the costs and the energy amount necessary to process the client request without sacrificing user-perceived performance. After performing the load balancing, I kept track of server usage and identified the servers which handled the least amount of client requests as part the second half of the project. These servers were then powered down and the client requests they were handling got redirected to a nearby server in order to lower the data center’s energy consumption.

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  • Coyle, Owen ‘12

    Geosciences
    PROJECT

    Denitrification in Marine Sediment: An Unknown Environmental Feedback

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Ward Lab, Princeton University

    ADVISER(S)

    Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences. Chair, Department of Geosciences

    Using mesocosms (small simulated environments containing sediment and seawater) from Chesapeake Bay, we studied the effects of a simulated high organic material flux on the microbial communities living in the sediment. We focused on the response of the bacteria involved in classical denitrification, assessed whether the availability of organic material would favor anammox or denitrifiers, evaluated whether the sediment system could respond adequately to this unnaturally high supply of fixed nitrogen. My work to date has focused on collecting and analyzing daily water samples for various dissolved inorganic fixed nitrogen (DIN) species: ammonium, nitrate, and nitrite, as well as collecting and preparing samples for genetic and direct tracer experiments to determine the metabolic contribution of anammox and denitrifiers. While some results are still outstanding (I may revisit them on my Fall JP), using multiple box models we can draw some initial conclusions about how the microbial community responded. First, it appears that those mesocosms receiving a large influx of organic material showed higher denitrifier activity relative to anammox than did those receiving low treatments. Second, in all mesocosms, denitrifier activity appeared to lag behind anammox activity (which may be critical to the prevalence anammox bacteria given their slower growth rates relative to denitrifiers). Third, while our mesocosms were subjected to nitrogen loadings much greater than current or projected anthropogenic fluxes, microbial activity was able to acclimate relatively quickly indicating that continental shelf systems may be able to buffer future anthropogenic influxes from reaching the open ocean.

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  • Dix, Daniel ‘12

    Operations Research and Financial Engineering
    PROJECT

    Learning from the Past in Nuclear Physics

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    ADVISER(S)

    Rob Goldston, Professor of Astrophysical Sciences

    The purpose of my internship was to study the history and development of nuclear fission in the mid-1900s and learn from both past triumphs and mistakes. Over the summer, I scoured Princeton libraries for information regarding different prototype reactors, such as the Boiling Reactor Experiment (BORAX) series at Argonne National Lab, looking for technical details as well as the purpose of the reactor itself. By examining the lessons learned in the past, items applicable to the present can be highlighted, helping the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) achieve it’s mission of providing a workable fusion pilot plant.

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  • Dresner, Samuel ‘13

    PROJECT

    The Role of Zooplankton in the Sargasso Sea n Cycle: Developing Methodology for Zooplankton δ15N Fecal Pellet Analysis

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda

    ADVISER(S)

    Bess Ward, William J. Sinclair Professor of Geosciences. Chair, Department of Geosciences

    My summer project attempted to elucidate the role of zooplankton in the Sargasso Sea nitrogen cycle. My personal contribution to this larger question was to develop and carry out a method to analyze the δ15N (in permil versus atmospheric N2 = {[15N/14N)sample/(15N/14N)atm] – 1} x 1000) of zooplankton fecal pellets. As fecal pellets constitute much of the export flux from the sunlit surface waters to the deep ocean (Urrere and Knauer, 1981; Angel, 1983), we might expect the δ15N of fecal pellets at depth to be similar to those found near the sea surface. Thus, by measuring the δ15N of fecal pellets, we are essentially creating a profile of the sinking flux in the Sargasso Sea. There is conflicting evidence regarding the δ15N of fecal pellets (particularly in reference to the food source and biomass of the zooplankton). At the Bermuda Atlantic Time-series Study site (BATS; 31° 40’ N; 64° 10’ W), there is an observed discrepancy between the δ15N of the export flux of organic matter out of the surface ocean (δ15N = ~3 ‰; Altabet 1988) and the suspended particulate N (δ15N = -3 to 1‰; Altabet 1988, 1989; Fawcett et al. 2010 submitted). My project consequently seeked to help resolve the δ15N discrepancy and to “balance” the nitrogen isotope budget in the Sargasso Sea. Studying the marine nitrogen cycle has direct implications on the carbon cycle, particularly how much CO2 is sequestered in the depths of the ocean and consequently removed from the atmosphere.

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  • Gobel, Amy ‘12

    Geosciences
    PROJECT

    Source analysis and quantification of nitrogen deposition to the Sargasso Sea

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Bermuda Institute for Ocean Sciences, Bermuda

    ADVISER(S)

    Danny Sigman, Dusenbury Professor of Geological and Geophysical Sciences. Professor of Geosciences

    The goal of this internship was to understand how anthropogenic nitrogen fixation affects nitrogen deposition in the North Atlantic Ocean. To this end, the internship consisted of three elements. First, rainwater and aerosol samples were collected at meteorological data stations at various locations in Bermuda. Second, the samples were analyzed using an ion chromatograph, an instrument that determines the concentration of specified ions within a sample. Third, the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory (HYSPLIT) atmospheric modeling program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) was used to determine the origin of the air masses that brought the rainwater and aerosols. The air masses were divided into two categories: those from the North American continent (containing anthropogenic nitrogen) and those from the surrounding ocean (containing biological nitrogen). Combining the data about air mass sources with the concentration data, the concentrations of anthropogenic nitrogen were compared with the concentrations of biological nitrogen. The results show that the nitrogenic ion averages weighted by volume were not different between anthropogenic and biological sources, whereas all other ions analyzed showed a significant difference between the two sources.

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  • Hartzell, Carolyn ‘11

    Electrical Engineering
    PROJECT

    Evaluation of the Electrical Characteristics of Thin-Film Solar Cells at United Solar Ovonics

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    United Solar Ovonics

    ADVISER(S)

    Dr. Jeff Yang, United Solar Ovonic

    At United Solar, rather than having one large project, I had several smaller ones, and contributed to many more. I ran several experiments on a solar simulator called the Spire in order to optimize its performance and also yield results that correspond more closely to the solar spectrum. I also established and wrote an operating procedure for the calibration of the Spire. I helped install twelve solar modules outside the Troy facility and developed a program to facilitate the download and analysis of data from the modules. I analyzed the performance of these experimental solar modules as well as other modules from the roof of the Auburn Hills facility under various conditions, including different irradiances, times, and shadow coverage. In addition to these, I helped employees of United Solar with their projects or tasks when they needed an extra pair of hands.

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  • Huang, Yuting ‘12

    Physics
    PROJECT

    Light Output Instability of Quantum Cascade Laser

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    MIRTHE Center, Princeton, NJ

    ADVISER(S)

    Claire Gmachl, Professor of Electrical Engineering

    Charge instability has long been a known problem in traditional lasers. While high profile quantum cascade (QC) lasers are assumed to be stable, strong light instability is still observed in QC lasers at high currents. Finding the potential periodic behaviors in the light instability will help eliminate this instability and achieve QC lasers with optimal gain. During my internship, my group developed a MATLAB program to remotely control a QC laser and monitor up to 5,000 sequential light pulses at a fixed pulsed current each time. The light pulses revealed how the light output looks like in real time and showed that there are likely quasi-periodic light instability behaviors. We chose the region of instability on each pulse as the gate region, and calculated the average power output in the gate region for each pulse. We used fast fourier transform (FFT) to find the frequency components buried in these “noisy” data. Through this process, we have found more frequencies than we expected, and our frequency data vary between measurements. We are currently collecting more data for different lasers and are focusing on multiple positions on a light pulse instead of one gate region to avoid missing any information.

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  • Izmailov, Sofia ‘11

    PROJECT

    Design and Discovery of Optimal Molecular Scale Solar Antennas

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    ADVISER(S)

    Herschel Rabitz, Charles Phelps Smyth ‘16 *17 Professor of Chemistry

    The optimization of solar collectors can be approached through computational methods for molecular property prediction. The ability to predict the properties of a molecule such as a solar collector decreases the amount synthesis and testing of molecules required to find those with the desired properties. Property prediction help determine which molecules are more likely to have the desired properties or be “active” and these can then be synthesized and tested. My internship focused on developing a method for property prediction which uses a training set of laboratory data to create a map and uses an input of reaction conditions to predict reaction yield.

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  • Jose, Lavanya ‘12

    Computer Science
    PROJECT

    Identifying significant real-time traffic on OpenFlow

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Computer Science, Princeton University

    ADVISER(S)

    Jennifer Rexford, Professor of Computer Science

    This summer, I worked in Professor Jennifer Rexford’s group in the Department of Computer Science on tools for monitoring traffic on computer networks. To this end, I developed a power-efficient algorithm for identifying “hierarchical heavy hitters” in real-time on a network using commercial hardware and commodity Ternary Content Addressable Memories (TCAMs). I then implemented the algorithm on OpenFlow, an open standard that allows researchers to run experimental protocols in production networks.

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  • Krieb, Karen ‘12

    Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
    PROJECT

    Myth Busting: Debunking Climate Myths

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Climate Central

    ADVISER(S)

    Professor of Computer Science

    During my internship at Climate Central, I read skeptic commentary and identified the top most common myths about climate change. I then debunked two of those myths by researching and writing scientific scripts and producing two short videos in Final Cut. I animated these videos in order to visually capture attention and creatively communicate the truth about these common myths: that snow storms mean global warming has stopped and that warming is not anthropogenic but caused by the sun.

  • Kuei, Steve ‘12

    Chemical and Biological Engineering
    PROJECT

    Polymer Crystallization on Curved Surfaces

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Loo Group, Princeton University

    ADVISER(S)

    Lynn Loo

    My internship in Professor Lynn Loo’s laboratory focused on organic solar cells. In previous work, it has been shown that substrates with curved surfaces can induce preferential alignment in phase separated polymer domains. Continuing this idea, my work this summer used buckled structures made of Norland Optical Adhesive (NOA) as a substrate with both mean and gaussian curvature. I crystallized poly(3-(2′-ethyl)-hexylthiophene) (P3EHT), which has a fibrillar structure, onto these structures and analyzed them using atomic force microscopy.

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  • Li, Zoe ‘12

    Molecular Biology
    PROJECT

    Beacon Solar Energy Project

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    National Organization for Welbody, Sierra Leone

    ADVISER(S)

    Mohammed Barrie

    Our team of four Princeton students brought a 2kW solar power system to the Amputee Clinic in Koidu, Sierra Leone. We designed the system and worked with an NGO based in Freetown, Energy for Opportunity (EFO), to finalize the design and install it at the clinic. The system powers lights, fans, and power outlets in the clinic and will be supporting X-ray and ultrasound machines when they arrive at the clinic in the fall. We have trained clinic staff in basic maintenance of the system and hope that it will be effective for many years to come. The higher level of care that comes with having electricity to power diagnostic tools such as the X-ray and ultrasound will dramatically improve the quality of healthcare the people receive and hopefully diagnose problems when they are still easily treatable.

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  • McNulty, Meghan ‘11

    Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
    PROJECT

    Implementation of a 2 kW Solar Panel System

    ORGANIZATION / LOCATION

    Global Action Foundation, Sierra Leone

    ADVISER(S)

    Elsie Sheidler

    This summer, I participated in the implementation of a 2 kW solar panel system at a rural health clinic in Kono, Sierra Leone, for the Global Action Foundation. My group worked in conjunction with Energy for Opportunity (EFO), an NGO that promotes solar energy projects, and with students from Sierra Leone’s Government Technical Institute, who brought experience of actual installations.

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  • Noble, Stephanie ‘12