Avinash, what do you do at ANU?
I am currently in the fourth year of a Bachelor of Engineering (R & D)/Bachelor of Science degree at the ANU. Within Engineering my major is Electronics & Communications and in Science my major is Physics (Optics).
What is your favourite spot on campus? You like it because?
Any cafe really, but specifically the Little Pickle cafe in the RSB and Coffee Grounds near the ANU gym. I like cafes in general as they are a nice environment to work in, plus I really enjoy drinking coffee (I'm a bit of an addict).
If you were free for an afternoon, you would...
I would just get a cup of coffee and try to find somewhere quiet to relax and read. Currently I am trying to get through a stack of books.
Can you tell us what this opportunity to be involved in the summer program means to you?
The HST-Wellman Summer Institute for Biomedical Optics is a joint program providing undergraduate students with research experience in biomedical optics. The program is a joint initiative of Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Wellman Center for Photomedicine. The program runs for nine weeks and involves lectures, research seminars and workshops throughout the program. The main component of the program is the opportunity to pursue full-time research in a world-class laboratory at one of the participating institutions. The program is a once in a lifetime opportunity and was selection was part of a competitive process. I am thankful for the financial support from the ANU Engineering Department that has made this trip possible and am greatly looking forward to attending such a prestigious program. I am keen to learn from world leaders in their fields and make use of a great opportunity to meet other students with similar interests from all over the world. Apart from the program, I have not had the chance to study overseas before and have never visited the USA. Visiting Boston will be an interesting and hopefully fun experience.
Tell us a bit about your field of study and why you choose it?
While I have always been interested in physics, I first really became interested in Optics through a research project with Dr Steve Lee. The project involved elastomeric lenses and involved quantifying their properties for use in portable Smartphone microscope attachments. After this I also completed a project involving 'Force Feedback with Aerosol Optical Tweezers" which involved using light to control the motion of microscopic particles. In both of these projects I had to learn and apply a wide variety of skills such as programming, mathematics as well as direct engineering skills such as soldering and 3D printing. This multidisciplinary nature of Optics research and development is the ultimate reason that I chose it.
Where to next?
I have applied to go on exchange in the USA in semester 2 this year to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. If I am accepted I would complete a semester abroad as part of my ANU studies. I am very much looking forward to this opportunity and am hopeful that I can travel around.