“Summer” in Sydney

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The school year is upon us, and Mudd is quickly ramping up for the fall semester. The frosh are on pass/fail, (most of) the sophomores are finishing up core, and the upperclassmen have started clinic. However, like Ramita, I want to spend a bit of time reliving this summer. Well, actually, my summer just started a few weeks ago, so it would be better to say I would like to relive my second winter. I say winter because I spent most of my summer break living in the Southern Hemisphere where I was doing research at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.


The UNSW Materials Science building where I did research.

I went to Sydney with a team of four other students, Jonas Kaufman (’17), Kate Reed (’18), Lillian Liang (’18), and Adam Shaw (’18), and Dean Bassman, who is an engineering professor here at Mudd. Our research focused on high entropy alloys (HEAs), which are alloys made of four or more elements in equiatomic portions. My project was purely experimental, which meant that I spent most of my time in the lab. I made alloys using a miniature arc melter and looked at their microstructures in a scanning electron microscope. My teammates’ work was more computational, though they did spend some time in the lab for their projects. Jonas was looking at the stacking fault energies of HEAs, Lillian and Kate were trying to predict magnetism, and Adam was working towards making quaternary phase diagrams.


(From left to right) Lillian, Kate, and Adam working on research at uni.


Adam grinding down a sample in lab.


The arc melter melting some metals for an alloy (featuring part of my arm).

Aside from doing research, we spent a lot of time exploring Sydney and the surrounding area. I could go into great detail about this in writing, but I am instead going to describe some of the adventures in the pictures below.


(From left to right) Dean Bassman, Jonas, Adam, Lillian, and me in front of the Harbour Bridge on our first day in Sydney. Thanks to Kate for the picture!


Maroubra Beach, just a short walk away from our flat. Unless it was storming, there were almost always surfers out in the water.


The Sydney Opera House lit up for Vivid Sydney (a special lights show that happens for a few weeks in the winter). The lights were animated so the designs were constantly changing on the displays. We took the bus downtown sometimes after work to grab a bite to eat and walk around, especially during Vivid.


(From left to right) Jonas, Kate, me, Adam, and Lillian in front of one of the Vivid pieces.


Me with a koala at a wildlife park. We were able to see many rehabilitated Australian animals at the park, like Victor the koala here, who you could pet.


We got tickets to watch the Intel drones (here creating an image of the Opera House) from the deck of the Opera House. We also had the opportunity to meet up with a Mudd alum who was working with the drones during the event.


A view of Bondi Beach during a Saturday afternoon walk around Sydney.


The team on a weekend trip to the Blue Mountains. After we took this picture, we went hiking through the rainforest.


The view of Depot Beach on one of our last weekends in Australia. There were some kangaroos hopping around the area that were very friendly and allowed us to pet them.