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Student of MIT Saranesh Prembabu about MEPhI, Moscow and Russia


The students of MIT, consistently occupying the first place in the world rankings, internship in the MEPhI not for the first year as it allows them to turn their theoretical knowledge into practical experience, to find new ideas, improve knowledge of the Russian language and to make new friends.

"The opportunity to work in well-known international center of scientific research, familiarity with the process of working theoretical physicist, interesting research results, but also funny stories from the life of Russian scientists" – that's the main thing that has left strong impressions on the student of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Saranesh Prembabu after an internship at the Institute of Laser and Plasma technologies MEPhI.

– Why did you choose MEPhI?

– I wanted to have an internship in theoretical physics, started to explore the different possibilities and found that MEPhI has a very strong Department of theoretical nuclear physics of LAPLAS that is engaged in interesting research. In addition, I understand that I will get a unique opportunity to work and communicate with employees of one of the most famous historical centers of Russian, Soviet and world science. MIT have already established relations with MEPhI, so I easily got the opportunity to go on this internship.

– What kind of research did you conduct?

– I interned at the Department of theoretical nuclear physics of LAPLAS under the direction of Professor Dmitry Nikolayevich Voskresensky. There I was researching properties of strongly interacting nucleon matter. In particular, my project was on the effect of formation and development boson scalar condensate in nucleon environment.

In order to deal with the task, I needed to learn the basics of the Fermi liquid theory (usually students study this difficult section of theoretical physics only in master degree study – ed. n). I figured in the description of bosonic excitations in equilibrium nuclear matter at finite temperature and in nonequilibrium environment, in particular, in the model non-overlapping Fermi spheres, in the description of the self-energy of scalar quanta and pions and found some simple solutions of the differential equations, which describe the process of instability at the time and subsequent condensation.

– How can the knowledge gained during the internship at MEPhI will be useful to you in further study?

– Time spent in MEPhI was very useful. Despite the short duration of the internship (about a month), I managed to cope with the task and get some interesting results. I learned a lot of nuclear physics, phenomenological theory of condensed matter, equilibrium and nonequilibrium Green functions, diagram technique, and approximate mathematical methods. All of these approaches and methods will be useful to me in almost every branch of physics, which I'm going to study in the future. The most important thing I took away from my work in MEPhI – familiarity with the process of work of a theoretical physicist.

– What was the most memorable moment of your internship?

– It is difficult to allocate a single point. Perhaps, I remember visiting the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, where we spent two days at the end of my internship. I learned a lot about the latest developments in the physics of heavy ion collisions and strange particles, managed to see modern accelerators. Also in Dubna, I met other students from different universities. In addition, it has been great when my supervisor told funny stories about their personal encounters with very famous Soviet and Russian physicists who worked once upon a time in JINR and MEPhI.

– What did you do in free time?

– In my spare time I walked around Moscow. To obtain a complete picture of life in Moscow, I visited not only tourist spots, but the Lenin library, cafes, parks, and shops. On the weekend I was able to go to St. Petersburg and enjoy the white nights and explore some of the many attractions of this beautiful city. Most of the free time I spent with my new friends from the University, that helped me significantly to improve my knowledge in the Russian language.

– Was it your first visit to Russia? What are your impressions about our country, about Moscow and about the MEPhI?

– I came in Russia for the first time. From my point of view the weather in June was absolutely horrific – almost all the time it was cold and rainy, but despite that, my first impression was great. For the first time I was in such a large and highly developed city like Moscow on a long time. I quickly felt that Russia, especially Moscow, combines the cultural traditions of many eras and different peoples that can be seen even in the names of streets. In preparation for the visit to Russia, I learned a bit of Russian language, and was very happy to speak it with people in the University and in the streets, plunging into the atmosphere of Russian culture.

I really liked MEPhI. I met many professors and students and was able to visit several laboratories and experimental facilities, like NEVOD. It was nice to be in the University, where some of the most famous physicists in the world – people of whom I had read in books – had worked at various times.


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