Emily Love, a 4th year Engineering Physics student at the University of British Columbia currently undertaking a co-op semester with TRIUMF’s Theory Group and Research Scientist Dr. Jason Holt, has been awarded a trio of top awards as part of the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) 2021.
(image: TRIUMF co-op student Emily Love)
Love took home Best Student Presentation in the Particle or Nuclear Physics Category (sponsored by the Canadian Institute of Nuclear Physics [CINCP]), 1st Overall Scoring Student Presentation, and Best Oral Presentation (sponsored by Queen's University).
“My work and presentation - Sorting and selecting orbitals in ab initio nuclear theory - are about improving the rate of convergence in nuclear structure calculations using a new method to choose a set of basis states that matter most to the overall system,” said Love. “I was confident that my presentation was clear and engaging - but so were several others I got to watch. Seeing my name come up had me giddy for the rest of the evening!”
The Conference, now in its 57th year, offered a variety of events and avenues for students to engage and share knowledge regarding physics and astronomy, network with peers and industry professionals, learn about the exciting research of experts, and to find opportunities in the field of physics. The events drew attendance from over 200 delegates from across Canada.
“The conference was engaging and eye-opening,” said Love. “I’m sure there were many students who, like me, would not normally be able to participate but could this year since it was held virtually. And even though we couldn’t interact in person, the event Discord channel was always active with discussion, games, and physics memes. I learned a great deal from professionals and other students sharing their own research and experiences.”
“I can’t even say what a pleasure it was to work with Emily these past 8 months,” said Holt. “She’s one of those rare students who embraces the challenges and uncertainties inherent in frontline research and will make the project a success no matter what. When we ran into a few unexpected hurdles initially, she didn’t hesitate to enthusiastically take her research in a completely new direction, which ultimately turned into the topic of her CUPC talk.”
About Love’s work for CUPC, Holt said: “Since it was a somewhat more technical development, I was curious how she would handle the task of tailoring her talk to fellow undergraduates, but when I saw how beautifully she presented and explained her work, I thought she might have a good shot at some accolades. With all of that said, three top honours is beyond impressive, and I couldn’t think of a more well-deserved recognition for all the excellent work she’s done here at TRIUMF!”
Love said that her experiences at the conference, and at TRIUMF, have had a great impact on her career and her future.
“I love working with TRIUMF and the opportunities it offers to interact and work with top-tier physicists from around the world,” said Love. “One of my goals here was to get a taste of a research career. I found that the daily to-dos of research – in my case, crunching numbers, running scripts, and studying graphs – don’t always look or feel the most thrilling. But I came to love the problem itself the more I worked with it. At some point, every new wall and breakthrough felt like fulfilling personal journeys.”
Love added: “I am now actively considering a career in physics research, and though I’m still figuring out what that may look like, I’m particularly interested in working with applications to fusion energy or quantum computers. My position and my work have offered a lot of freedom to explore different options, which has been both challenging and rewarding.”