Princeton Research Day highlights work from opera to plasma

Princeton Research Day, photo credit Office of Communications

by Michael Hotchkiss, Office of Communications

Frist Campus Center was the center of Princeton University's research universe Thursday afternoon as more than 150 undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers presented their work at the first Princeton Research Day.

The event highlighted research from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, humanities and the arts in formats including talks, poster presentations, performances, art exhibitions and digital presentations — all designed with the general public in mind.

"It's a wonderful cross-section of the research enterprise at Princeton," said Pablo Debenedetti, dean for research, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering.

A taste of the day's diversity of research:

  • Senior Heather O'Donovan sang a piece from her English translation of the 19th-century comic opera "Les Noces de Jeannette."
  • Postdoctoral researcher Luca Comisso highlighted the characteristics of plasma, such as how milk spreads through hot coffee and the stuff of the universe itself.
  • Graduate student DJ Rasmussen explained his efforts to make climate change projections accessible to people making long-term financial decisions.

"I love research. I love presenting to the community about what I've been doing in classes and in the lab," said Jalisha Braxton, a senior majoring in psychology who gave a poster presentation on her research testing whether handwriting or typing results in better essays.

Freshman Elise Freeman, who was helping judge the poster presentations, said she enjoyed learning about research from a wide range of fields.

"I'm walking away very interested and engaged even though I'm not directly involved in the fields where the research is being done," said Freeman, who said she hopes to present her independent work at the event in future years.

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