Wolfgang Ketterle: The mission of MIT is the pursuit of excellence. Nergis Mavalvala: The students, they’re brilliant, they’re curious, they’re
dedicated. Ed Bertschinger: The mission of the Physics Department at MIT is to pursue
cutting-edge research at the frontiers of physics across many subfields and to
train students to go on in both the physics profession and in other fields using the
best problem-solving talents that we can provide them. The MIT Physics Department
is one of the largest in the country. We also have one of the largest student
programs in the country graduating the most bachelor’s degrees and PhDs in
physics. Kristen Beck: So I work in experimental atomic physics. In particular, I work in a system that is high finesse optical cavity, a Fabry-Perot resonator,
with an ensemble of cesium atoms inside of it and we’re using this system to
study how we can make mediated interactions between photons. Laura Lopez: The
research I work on at MIT is I study supernovae that went off in the last
hundred or thousand years. Looking at the x-rays from the supernovae to understand
more about the physics of the explosion and how the explosion affects the space
around around them. Ketterle: You are here in the NSF-funded Center for Ultracold Atoms.
The Center for Ultracold Atoms is a collaboration of several faculty at MIT
and Harvard. The focus of my research group is fundamental physics,
understanding of phases of matter at a profound and deep level.
In the future in 10, 20, or 30 years, this research may lead to new materials for
novel devices which have not existed before. Mavalvala: The Laser Interferometer
Gravitational-Wave Observatory or LIGO for short is a pair of observatories: one
located in Washington state, one located in Louisiana, whose goal is to detect
gravitational radiation from the sky. The real hope if you look out 15, 20 years is
that in time we will have regular detections, multiple detections of
gravitational waves from different sources in the sky so that we can sort
of launch what we call the era of gravitational wave astrophysics. Sabrina Gonzalez Pasterski: I would say what makes MIT special is the way that they really do help you find research opportunities as an
undergraduate student. Prashanth Venkataram: I think the main draw for me to come here was the fact
that pretty much any undergraduate can start research at any point.
Christine Chiu: MIT will provide funding or credit for students who want to do research and these are
undergraduate students who will do research during the semester. They can
find any professors that they want to do research with and who’s willing to take
them on as a student.
Edward Mazenc: If I hadn’t done the UROP program, I don’t think I’d be
going to graduate school. Research is very different from classes. In classes
you know there’s an answer out there and it’s your job to find it but you know
it’s there. Katelin Schutz: A lot of universities just stick their students in a lecture hall and everyone is very anonymous. You know you come to lecture you take down your
notes and you leave and then you have like maybe a couple exams that decide
your entire fate in this course. So I think what TEAL does is that TEAL makes
it so that you can’t just fly under the radar. You know you have a relationship
with your your TA’s and your professor and they’re gonna give you immediate
feedback on what you’re doing so that if you are confused about something you can receive immediate attention. Mazenc: What the TEAL program does is really basically
match the pace of the professor with the pace of the student and that’s hard to
do in just a normal standard class setting. Mavalvala: Excellence comes in many many different
shapes, sizes, colors, forms, and so inclusiveness is sort of just part of
the mission of excellence.
Bertschinger: MIT and the Physics Department really value diversity and inclusion.
We want to have an environment that allows everyone to
do their best and which invites many more people into physics and into
science and technology in general. Schutz: I think the thing that’s really
unique about the MIT Physics Department in particular is the sense of community. Chiu: The best part of being a physics major at MIT I had to say is the community. MIT
has this wonderful culture of being hard-working, being creative and taking
initiative and I really think that the physics department is just the epitome of that.
Ketterle: MIT is a place where the concept of excellence: excellence in teaching,
excellence in research, is really pervasive. Every part of MIT is here for one
purpose and this is excellence.