The goal of my summer project was to understand introductory principle of astrophysics and astronomy, as well as develop my skills in the python programming language. Specifically, I was tasked with the search for a new class of cosmic explosions called Fast Evolving Luminous Transients (FELTs). These events, though highly energetic, occur on timescales of days, to hours, to maybe even minutes. Throughout the summer, I learned how to analyze large sets of data using a supercomputer in California. In order to analyze data, however, I first had to understand the motivations behind the analysis. This stage of the process involved ample discussion with my project mentor as well as other faculty and graduate students in the physics & astronomy department. In addition, I also read several papers to orient me in the field. From these discussions and readings, I had a strong foundation to write code that would search for FELTs, the subject of my project.
Participating in summer research greatly enhanced my educational experience by providing me with real world applications to apply the topics and lessons I covered earlier on in my academic journey. Furthermore, I have a better idea of whether or not research is a good fit for me on the long term. After finding a sense of fulfillment and satisfaction in my summer work, I am happy to say that I think research is a good fit for me. For this, I am extremely grateful for my summer experience and look forward to contributing to further mysteries in the field of physics and astronomy.