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Offered research experience in Astro as a CC Student

  1. Apr 17, 2014 #1
    So, ive been in community college for a year now and my original plan was to get out of here in 2 years as fast as I could. Tonight, I just met with a part time professor here and I have the opportunity to take part in some research with him and another student (or 2). This honestly sounds too good to be true. He has a BS in EE and a PHD in astronomy and I guess revolutionized computerized telescopes in the late 70's. Anyways, he mentioned that one of his students at the CC was able to publish and a few have co-authored.

    Here is the thing, I am not completely interested in astronomy. Nor do I know much about it. I know I was fascinated by all of it as a child which brought me want to major in physics and mathematics in the first place. My interests now are more geared toward theoretical and plasma physics. I am sure any research experience will help me, but I am just extremely nervous because I literally have no idea how I plan to contribute to his research....I am just barely starting calculus this summer and have no formal physics background.

    Any advice from anyone?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 18, 2014 #2
    Do you have another research opportunity in a field you'd rather pursue? If not, I'd take it.

    Having not had calculus yet, you will probably be helping the research by doing some data analysis, learning some basic programming, and maybe doing some technical stuff if his work is experimental. My experience doing research when I had very little physics education was that you don't really contribute to the "theory" part of his research. You typically don't advise him on what to do. But you do benefit by learning how to operate in a research environment, get a huge resume booster. At the same time, he benefits because he doesn't need to spend all of his spare time doing data analysis or whatever he'll be having you doing.

    Plus, you never know. Maybe you'll find that astronomy is actually quite interesting. You might not learn what you want to study for a future career, but you might learn what you DON'T want to study.
  4. Apr 18, 2014 #3
    I have no other research opportunities other than a self study with a mathematics professor on whatever he feels like exploring. Basically I am just very nervous. His research is supposed to be photometry of variable starts and binary. I guess we do some stuff called time series CCD. Also apparently he has many of us Community College students go on and publish which to me just sounds so unlikely.
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