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Patrick Mayrhofer


Placement at Royal Holloway sponsored by IAESTE

Supervisor: Dr Stephen Molloy

"I am a 4th year physics student and am studying at the Technical University in Graz, Austria.  The summer placement was arranged by IAESTE (in case you have never heard of them:  an organisation that arranges internships for students with engineering or science backgrounds all over the world).  

My time working at Royal Holloway was an interesting experience for me in different ways.  By working on two projects, I got insights into what is going on in a physics department apart from the lectures.  The projects themselves involved computational physics as well as more applied work in the laboratory or more picturesque:  I helped to simulate and analyse models of microwave cavities and later on I used Labview to control motors in a detector system.

As always when you start something new e.g. a programming language, I had moments that were frustrating and nothing seemed to work.  However, in the end (either of just one day of work or the whole placement) it is a really nice feeling to see something new that you helped to create and it doesn't matter if it is a bit of programming code or a bead moving on a thread in a way you wanted it to.

Apart from the experience of having my own project to work on, another thing I liked was talking to PhD students and finding out what they are actually doing.  While eating a wrap for lunch I heard quite often what it is like to work on a PhD thesis and about individual projects of the students.

Concluding, doing a placement is a pretty good idea and particularly for me since I got to know an interesting country and a new department."


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