This guest post is written by Akshiv Bansal, a high school student I met through the Future Science Leaders program. He is taking advantage of a new opportunity for students in this program to explore different careers over the summer.
This month I have been given the opportunity to work with the Strategic Planning and Communications department of TRIUMF. TRIUMF is a Canada’s national laboratory for nuclear and particle physics, and they have the world’s largest cyclotron on site. There are about 450 scientist, staff, and engineers on site all doing their part to further the science, along with about 150 post-doctoral fellows and students.
Wednesday morning, I walked in with an idea of what I had to accomplish today. First I sat at my desk for a couple of hours designing an advertisement for TRIUMF to get more students interested in opportunities we have at the lab. Before taking on this endeavor I had very a limited understanding of the complexities of marketing, specifically what things make people want to read an advert and what elements will turn it into an eye sore. As I quickly discovered, the art of marketing is a balancing act on many intricate different levels.
At about 11:00, I traveled down the hall to the very luxurious boardroom for a strategy review. Essentially, this is a meeting where we get together, discuss, and write down formally our strategy when engaging with different bodies. This is important in case one day there are all new people in the office and it also helps us to review future engagements. Our topic for this meeting was international relations. This was the most interesting part of the day as I got to learn more about TRIUMF and how a national lab conducts business to ensure funds and resources for its science. I learned ideas that can be applied in a boarder scope, which TRIUMF makes good use of. All of this knowledge is useful for anyone planning on going into the sciences regardless of field
Once the meeting ended and a brief lunch concluded, I was asked to proof read the biannual science report. Even though it doesn’t sounds engaging, it is an opportunity learn about the science going on here at TRIUMF and on a board scale physics in general.
After that short interlude I walked out of the main office building, armed with my dosimeter and id badge to the actual lab. I went to the muon trapping area to ask a researcher or a student about the cryogenic technology we have on site. There was no particular reason to do this, but I was told to attend and visit what ever it is that I found interesting. The cryogenics unit they have at TRIUMF can get down to about 2 mili Kelvin. To give you an idea of how cold that is, the average temperature of space is about 2.7 Kelvin. So 0.002 K is quite impressive even though it is not the coldest scientists have accomplished.
Subsequently, I put another hour or so into the advertisement and then got on the bus and headed home, wondering all the while what awaited me tomorrow.
If you would like to know more about TRIUMF visit their webpage: www.triumf.ca I would like to thank Shad Valley International, TRIUMF, and most of all Dr. Catherine Anderson for making this possible.
This post is cross-posted from Akshiv’s blog.