IIP Internships in Engineering, Physics and Math
Location: San Pedro de Atacama and Santiago, Chile
About: The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) is an international partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan, together with NRC (Canada), NSC and ASIAA (Taiwan), and KASI (Republic of Korea), in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA -the largest astronomical project in existence- is a single telescope of revolutionary design, composed of 66 high precision antennas located on the Chajnantor plateau, 5000 meters altitude in northern Chile. Two placements have been created for IIP interns.
Intern responsibilities: ALMA has, as part of its central weather station, many sensors: temperature, pressure, wind speed/direction, humidity plus specialized ones (a stand alone water vapor radiometer, a seismometer and an oxygen monitor). The oxygen monitor is a device that measures the column density of O2 overhead and turns that into various data streams every hour most notably a temperature profile. ALMA plans to start incorporating this data stream into ALMA data sets but before during that, the proper functionality of the device needs to be verified. The IIP interns will have the opportunity to work with ALMA astronomers and help participate / lead while: relocating the Oxygen Sounder to the Central Weather Station, verifying the data acquisition/functionality, performing the regular preventive maintenance, deriving the temperature profiles according to the manual and by developing script to automatically visualize data on the ALMA weather page.
Qualifications: Coding abilities in Python would be an asset, as would an interest and knowledge in astronomy.
Work experiences (in the words of a past IIP intern): I worked on two projects. The first one included plotting the position histories of ALMA pads and antennas and extracting statistics from the plots. The second project was more connected to astrophysics as opposed to ALMA operations and involves fitting physical models to the observed ALMA data of FuOri (Young stellar object which had a dramatic increase in observed luminosity in the past century)...This experience, firstly was very useful in terms of enhancing my general research experience, particularly programming and interacting with the ALMA networks. My Python coding improved as well as my ability to interact with a UNIX terminal, write basic bash and html scripts, and use a more extensive text editor such as Emacs. From my first project with the antenna and pad position histories I learned some of the basics of how ALMA antennas operate which I found really fascinating. From my second project, I learned more about variable protostars and their disks which is currently a very active field in astronomy.
View a Power Point Presentation by a past IIP intern:
ALMA(Chile) Intern #1
|For UPDATED Information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA)
Location: Paris, France
About: CityTaps is a social startup based in Paris. Their vision is to bring running water to every home, for ever. Today, about 750M urban poor lack the basic comfort of running water at home in the developing world. CityTaps believes that running water in the home is a source of health, economic opportunity and dignity, particularly for women and girls who bear the majority of the burden associated with daily water chores. Their solution to this vexing problem has 3 components: new technology, community development, and business innovation. CityTaps believes in questioning assumptions in a respectful, fast-paced, and fun environment. Their company is looking for enthusiastic and hard-working individuals who want to work to serve the poor and make a positive difference in the world.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on one or more of the following projects:
- Electronic and software design of a connected water meter - The IIP intern will work closely with the CTO to develop software and electronic components of a new generation robust water metering system targeted at developing country environments. Tasks that the IIP intern might be involved in include: software programming (cloud), embedded programming (electronic chips), design of radio communications, mobile payment systems, prototyping, and industrialization, all with an emphasis on reliability, security and cost reduction.
- Hydraulic design of a connected water meter - The IIP intern will work closely with the CTO and CEO to design (from the hydraulic perspective) the metering components of the water metering system targeted at developing country environments. Tasks that the student might be involved in include: mechanical design, CAD drawings, fluid mechanics calculations, prototyping and industrialization all with an emphasis on reliability, security and cost reduction.
- Grant writing and research, and other writing/research - The IIP intern will work closely with the CFO to help CityTaps apply for grants and to perform necessary research related thereto. Specific tasks could include: developing a paper about the ‘theory of change’ for CityTaps; writing grant applications; performing market evaluation studies, including competition, similar projects in the developing world, etc. and helping develop a social impact strategy.
Qualifications: For the engineering related placements, IIP candidates with interests in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and/or computer science are encouraged to apply. Technical skills in embedded systems, programming, mechanics, plastics, robotics, fluid mechanics modeling, and/or CAD design would be an asset. For the grants writing and research placement, IIP candidates with interests in international development, political science, economics and/or public policy are encouraged to apply. Experience in writing, research and specific experience in grant and proposal writing would be an asset. For all placements, French language skills would be a plus, as would the knowledge of any African language.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: CityTaps|
Location: Entebbe, Uganda
About: Digital Solutions (DS) is a Ugandan-based software development company. The company builds custom applications mainly for telecom industry clients in Africa, Asia, and the United States. The IIP intern will join the DS team as it seeks to meet demanding client expectations. DS’s work involves significant research and innovative approaches to application building.
Intern responsibilities: IIP intern responsibilities may include: co-leading a team as programmer on existing projects; programming skills transfer/lead on in-house training for staff; helping in the maintenance of system development process and controls; and providing an independent quality assurance on existing applications to improve security, quality of execution and to ensure up-to-date documentation. Specific projects may include MMS Gateway Development, Dynamic SIM Toolkit application development, and NFC programming.
Qualifications: This placement is ideal for IIP interns with interest in computer science. Software development in C, Python, Ruby, or Java is required.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of a past IIP intern): I wrote a mobile to mobile communications framework. Basically, cell networks are quickly becoming the preferred means of communication in developing countries because cell companies are erecting towers everywhere, making cell service widely available, while broadband internet connections are difficult to come by. There are many types of non-phone devices which can communicate over cell networks, but they all use their own "language," making it necessary to write individualized software to communicate with each different kind of device. I wrote a basic framework for this type of software, which should be able to be extended to work with any type of mobile device with minimal effort.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Digital Solutions|
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
About: Eurofish is an international organization established to assist the development of fisheries and aquaculture in Central and Eastern Europe focusing on post-harvest fisheries and aquaculture industries. Eurofish contributes to the development of fisheries and the aquaculture sector through the publication of marketing and industry related information in the Eurofish Magazine, Eurofish website, as well as through the organization of conferences, workshops and seminars and by executing a variety of projects in the fields of trade and market, processing and aquaculture. The key objectives of Eurofish are to contribute to the sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sector; promote trade of high quality, value-added fishery products; and facilitate the transfer of information and knowledge.
Intern Responsibilities: Interns may have any of the following responsibilities: assisting in the preparation of market studies; writing project applications in the field of fisheries; performing IT/web design/ maintenance and database management; assisting in promotion and communication activities; conducting market research and socio-economic studies; research various sales and promotional agencies/ institutions and perform other duties as required.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in marketing, business administration, economics, journalism; project management and/or computer science are encouraged to apply.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of the past IIP interns): Intern #1: I had several tasks- Managing and analyzing data to build a European seabed mapping website, writing short pieces for the company's magazine, copy editing the magazine, making changes to the company's contact database.Intern #2: Designed graphics for a conference (posters, program, website banners, etc), wrote software manuals and small pieces for magazine, corrected English in communications and articles. I migrated the Eurofish website into an updated Joomla! platform.
View a PowerPoint presentation by a past IIP intern:
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Eurofish|
Geodynamics Group, Research School of Earth Sciences, The Australian National University (ANU)
Location: Canberra, Australia
About: The research of the Geodynamics Group at the Research School of Earth Sciences, is focused on using space-based observations to study changes on Earth. With strong backgrounds in geodesy, the researchers in the group are studying a wide range of topics including crustal deformation (tectonic drift, earthquakes) and glacial isostatic adjustment, as well as climate-related topics such as sea level rise and melting of polar ice sheets. Space-geodetic missions such as satellite altimeters (Jason-2, Envisat, IceSAT), space gravity (GRACE), and positioning systems (e.g. GPS) provide the observations for these studies. The research involves generating numerical models and processing the data such that estimates of these geophysical signals can be made.
Intern responsibilities: The IIP intern will work as part of a team to study some aspect of change on Earth using space-geodetic observations. There are many possible projects from which to choose: improving the modelling of satellite orbits, estimating changes in groundwater aquifers, quantifying crustal strain across continents and/or known active fault zones, deriving estimates of regional sea level rise, or measuring actual melting rates of polar regions, among others. Possible responsibilities may include developing software to model satellite orbits, processing actual satellite observations to derive estimates of geophysical processes on Earth, and/or developing and assessing different types of models for certain processes. The work is computationally intensive and the IIP intern could be involved in writing software, processing data, deriving estimates, and interpreting and evaluating the results. Previous IIP interns have worked on projects that have been submitted for publication with the intern as a co-author.
Qualifications: Strengths in maths/physics are essential for this IIP internship.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of a past intern): Intern #1: I rewrote their program to make it much more flexible, powerful and easy to work with. The project itself involved using and analyzing data from the GRACE satellite mission. I worked with Matlab a lot, so I learned quite a bit of this. I also did Monte Carlo simulations, which was very interesting. The organization was trying to find an accurate representation of the earth deformation using the data from an old satellite system called Grace. They're trying to estimate these Love Numbers in order to match the displacements collected by GPS data. If the research makes more progress, they plan on publishing a paper on their findings.Intern #2: My project was to perform inversions with the equation used to calculate earth deformation due to surface loading. I interpreted the data collected from satellites at various locations and inverted to estimate coefficients called Love Numbers. Most of my work was on Matlab and/or Fortran...
View a PowerPoint presentation from a past IIP Intern:Geodynamics Intern #1
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here:
Geodynamics Group, Research School of Earth Sciences, Australia National University
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Location: Accra, Ghana
About: IWMI is an international scientific non-profit organization that undertakes world-class research to help improve water management in developing countries. IWMI’s Mission is to provide evidence-based solutions to sustainably manage water and land resources for food security, people’s livelihoods, and the environment.
Intern responsibilities: The interns will be placed in pairs. Each intern pair will conduct research that will include: defining the main products/activities, target audiences and aims of the different products/activities; setting up the methodology for assessment, based on face-to-face interviews; undertaking this analysis (travel in the allocated country may be required); analyzing the results, and participating in a workshop; presenting these results and making recommendations for future marketing and communications.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in communications, science, agriculture, environmental studies, or development are encouraged to apply. Experience conducting surveys, interviews, and data analysis would be an asset.
Previous work experiences (in words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: Here at the IWMI West Africa office, I am working with the research and communications coordinator, assisting in preparing documents, brochures and fliers that showcase the work of IWMI. I have also been doing a lot of field work and visiting demonstration sites that have been set up by IWMI to support their research. Intern #2: I produce infographics supporting the researchers. I write briefs that summarize the research outcomes. I helped analyze all their minority publications...I am learning the need to review what organizations tell the world and make sure it is actually what the organization wants the world to see.Intern #3: At the beginning, my work consisted mostly of helping with translation of communication material from English to French and helping to write workshop report and briefs on research projects for communication purposes. However, over the past three weeks, I have been spending most of my time working on placing a great quantity of data into bar charts and then overlaying them onto the Google Earth world map... IWMI also conducts projects and maintains partnerships in French speaking West African countries and so communication material in French is key to developing those projects and relationships. Finally, my idea of using computer programming to complete the Google Earth project probably saved hundreds of hours of work since it turned out that I had to create more than 7,000 graphs and now need to place each of them on Google Earth...I think what I am mostly learning from my supervisor and other colleagues are the workings of IWMI as an organization and in what ways people deal with their individual work and fit in within wider collective projects and goals. The specific project that I have been working on involves some programming and manipulating Google Earth which are good skills to refine.
View PowerPoint presentations by past interns:
IWMI Ghana Intern #1.pdf
IWMI Ghana Intern #2.pdf
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization
Location: Goettingen, Germany
About: The Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization is a research institute for investigations of complex non-equilibrium systems, particularly in physics and biology. Its founding history goes back to Ludwig Prandtl who in 1911 requested a Kaiser Wilhelm Institute to be founded for the investigation of aerodynamics and hydrodynamics. As a first step, the Aeronautische Versuchsanstalt (now the DLR) was established in 1915 and then finally the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Flow Research was established in 1924. In 1948 it became part of the Max Planck Society. In 2003 it was renamed to Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization. It is one of eighty institutes in the Max Planck Society (Max Planck Gesellschaft). The institute has four departments conducting research in the following areas: nonlinear dynamics, fluid dynamics, pattern formation, biocomplexity, and dynamics of complex fluids.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns will work on tasks related to the experimental and theoretical projects at the Institute.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in physics, biology, math, and natural sciences are encouraged to apply.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP intern): Intern #1: We had an active grid, which is an array of paddles which are computer controlled to run a certain rms velocities and angles. I programmed these paddles to have certain shapes and statistical properties. Then, using a wind tunnel we measured statistical properties of the resulting turbulent flow through these paddles. Intern #2: I studied energy decay in turbulence by using an active grid and a wind tunnel. The active grid lets us control how we stir up the air in the wind tunnel, and we can measure it's effects on turbulence. In the mornings, I generally worked on coding the active grid, analyzing data, or reading papers. In the afternoons, I took data in the wind tunnel. Intern #3: Basically, I worked with a very specific type of amoeba, called Dictyostelium discoideum, which I took lots of data of. Frequently I injected the ameoba into small chambers, and then I recorded images of the movements of the amoeba for hours. While the data is being taken, I used imageJ and Matlab to look at and analyze data that I've taken from previous days. With this data I tried to determine specific information about the communication and movement of the amoeba. Intern #4: I set up experiments in the morning that run all day. It involved working with Dictyostelium (an amoebae) in a microfluidic channel, and I investigated resonance/phase locking in the system. In the afternoons I did prep work for the experiments and analyzed the data I have collected (using image J and matlab). We had been working on a few different ways to analyze the data and tried some new ideas. Hopefully the work can be complied into a Arnold tongue graph (showing the resonance conditions of the system)...I am learned not only how to work in the lab with Dictyostelium but the data analysis is really interesting. I have tried a few different ways to extract useful/accurate information from the microscopy pictures, it was interesting to talk with my supervisor to evaluate the results and discuss new approaches. Intern #5: My fellow IIP intern and I worked on an experiment to see how movements of tiny paddles in a wind tunnel affect the flow in a wind tunnel. This involved programming the paddles in C++ to move in a variety of correlated configurations, designing experiments/ collecting velocity data in the wind tunnel, and analyzing the data using matlab code. We wrote a paper by the end...One of the goals of the Max Planck Institute is to better understand turbulence. We studied the very important idea of the decay of turbulence over time...I learned a lot about the theory of turbulence and some statistics too. Also I learned a ton of C++, which has been a great way to practice some of the skills I learned in COS217 this spring. Intern #6: We were studying turbulence decay in a wind tunnel, using concepts from classical turbulence theory. We were attempting to induce changes in turbulence using an active grid, composed of 129 paddles mounted to independently controlled servo motors. We implemented a new feature in the control code that allows the experimenter to generate grid movements that are correlated in time, and not just in space. Then, we were working in the experimental hall, running tests on the grid in a wind tunnel and collecting data. In between tests, we ran data processing scripts (coded in MATLAB) and generated correlation functions and energy decay functions. After our data collection phase was finished, we processed the data further, organized it into a presentable form, and wrote reports summarizing our findings and the technical details about our code...I learned experimental methods, new programming skills, and data collection methods. I also learned how to negotiate theoretical issues in light of time, algorithm, and hardware constraints.
View a PowerPoint presentation by a past intern:
Max Planck Institute Intern #1
Max Planck Institute Intern #2
Max Planck Institute Intern #3
Max Planck Institute Intern #4
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Max Planck Institute|
Location: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
About: NRG Solutions is a renewable energy start-up looking for ways to empower people in Cambodia with clean energy solutions. NRG has two main areas of focus: They are starting to build a national distribution network for clean energy products and developing efficient appliances to reduce energy poverty in rural Cambodia and improve people’s lives by providing appropriate solutions. They also have an engineering team that tailors larger rooftop solutions to both urban and rural customers throughout the country. NRG has installed thirteen rooftop systems ranging from 300W-4KW, mostly in schools, clinics, hospitals, private homes, and other small businesses.
Intern responsibilities: IIP Interns will be able to choose their projects based on their skills and background. Examples of current projects include:
- Research and Development: as part of the team, the intern will collect information from our field staff, understand issues, and help identify and develop a solution to these problems. The intern will also have to consider the financial feasibility, logistics of the supply chain, from purchase to delivery, to after sales maintenance of the solutions.
- IT and Software Solutions: This project focuses on the implementation of technologies, development/improvement of software to facilitate the distribution of our solutions to the end user, follow up on the product and customer satisfaction, as well as better evaluate the impact of the solution over time. Specific tasks under this project include improving the website and database, developing mobile apps, applying voice recognition software to improve our education and after sales services.
- Project Engineer: The intern will assists project managers in the evaluation/ sizing/ installation/ maintenance of our rooftop installations. The intern will help identify ways to improve engineering processes, design tools and be involved in different phases of the project.
- Business Development: The intern will spend more time with the managers and director understanding the business and looking at the business model, supply chain, marketing strategy, financial planning, to help the business be more effective and sustainable.
Qualifications: IIP candidates with interests in electrical, mechanical, or environmental engineering, as well as renewable energy, business, marketing/communications, fundraising, accounting, and/or web development are encouraged to apply. Experience in Solar Energy Specific software, web programming, CRM software, financial modeling, or marketing would also be an asset.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: I researched existing published policy on access to energy in Cambodia; Met with different levels of government to get updated information on policy and updates on implementation of policy and projects. Met with local and multinational organizations to understand challenges in current policy, and changes. Analyzed government structures and policy to advise on best ways for the private sector can have a larger say in the development of new policies and to create public-private partnerships to help with the implementation of this policy...I learned a great deal in a very short time given the unique nature of the startup. From my project, I learned how to conduct research in a foreign country (which is not as easy as going to Firestone), how to connect with government officials and how to understand the challenges and changes in renewable energy policy in a developing country. I think most of my learning has come in the form of interacting with colleagues/my supervisor in the office, with regard to how a startup or any business operates and how to delegate responsibilities and accomplish goals. Intern #2: I developed an app for the sales team here. It is for use during initial client visits, so that the team can record data efficiently, and give an immediate price estimate to the client. This will save the team the two weeks it takes them now to generate a quote from a handwritten report, both saving the team time and presenting a more professional service for the client. I advised NRG on choosing a client relations and sales management software to streamline their business processes. This involved comparing existing software in terms of price and functionality to help decide what best fits NRG's current and future needs. More importantly, I worked with NRG's head of business development to chart in detail the workflow and organizational structure of the business...I learned technical skills through building the app for NRG (this isn't really something Princeton teaches). I also learned a lot about the culture of a startup, and the dedication that it takes to make something truly great with limited financial resources...Culturally, I learned to be more patient: patient with my surroundings, because things don't always run entirely smoothly here, and patient with myself, because for as much as I'm learning, there's always more to learn. Intern #3: I was assigned a few projects: One potential project that I worked on aimed to replace the diesel generators in ten battery charging stations in rural communities. It was an application based process in which the project would be partially subsidized. However, the deadline was too soon and we weren't hearing back from our suppliers that we could not follow through with the project. In the end, I summarized our findings and design decisions in a report should the company pursue a similar type of project in the future. Then, I was assigned a new project - an off-grid solar system for a mobile container office. I presented the design in an initial proposal for this project. I also prepared energy consumption profiles. My next project was focusing on helping prevent overuse in the solar home kits. I tested batteries to find a correlation between voltage readings and state of charge/hours of use, and figured out which parameters of the charge controller to program in order to prevent overconsumption. Doing so would extend the life of these solar kits by several years and prevent customers from demanding replacement kits back when we had no way to prove that they were overusing it and killing the batteries. As a result, the new solar kits that they sell will provide a much more sustainable solution…Through these projects I learned a ton about how to properly size solar systems and significantly improved my skills in Excel. Intern #4: I was a business development intern. I worked to improve NRG's business operations/implement PAYG technology. I learned a lot about emerging solar technologies/business models and wrote a report on it.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: NRG Solutions|
Location: Manila, Philippines
About: Stiftung Solarenergie (StS) Philippines is a social enterprise organization that strives to combat rural poverty by providing all off-grid villages with access to innovative technology solutions powered by solar energy. This placement provides IIP interns with the opportunity to understand how social enterprises work. One in four Filipinos lack access to electricity. The vast majority of these 25 million individuals live in isolated coastal and mountainous regions across the country. The mission of Stiftung Solarenergie (StS) Philippines is to combat rural poverty by providing all off-grid villages with access to innovative technology solutions powered by solar energy. StS Philippines is engaged in illuminating off-grid households via solar home lighting systems, installing community-level solar applications such as computer labs and water pumps, empowering beneficiaries through education and capacity building, and mobilizing citizen-sector support for efforts to eradicate energy poverty. As a social enterprise, our approach is inherently hybrid in nature. The company catalyzes change by leveraging both market-based as well as philanthropic resources, working in tandem with social businesses and community-based organizations to ensure sustainable impact at the grassroots level.
StS Philippines is at a crucial stage of its evolution. We continue to pilot with new products and systems while replicating and scaling up successful innovations. Interns will join a dynamic working environment in which they will assume significant responsibilities and gain the opportunity to support ongoing community development work at the grassroots level.
Intern Responsibilities: Summer internships directly support our mission of empowering rural communities through the deployment of solar solutions. Typical projects include:
- Marketing and communications: Improving website, editing video testimonials, preparing program brochures and fundraising materials/grant applications, preparing training materials
- Impact assessment: executing solar user forums and surveys, preparing impact assessment reports
- Product assessment and deployment: assessing and summarizing technical performance of new solar products, developing new solutions and product packages, deploying products in field and conducting user feedback sessions
- Financial analysis: Updating business plans
- Partner and donor database management: Building and updating community partner and donor databases
- Market research/mapping: Updating electrification data and maps (households, schools, clinics, etc without electricity), preparing additional GIS mapping data sets (e.g., health, poverty, water availability, etc), building GPS system for tracking solar deployments
- Supporting programs and campaigns: Over the summer, the interns will support and participate in active programs (e.g., Light for Education, Light for Health, Light for Life, etc) and campaigns (e.g., Sail for Light, Dive for Light, etc).
- Preparation of training materials and operations manuals: The interns will help develop and write training materials and operations manuals that will be utilized for training our partners and scaling up.
Qualifications: IIP candidates interested in economic and community development, environment, technology and social enterprises are encouraged to apply. Online media, graphic design, and video editing skills would be an asset but are not required.
Previous work experiences (in the words of previous IIP interns): Intern #1: Dealt with mapping out unelectrification for regions of Philippines to prioritize company strategy for regions to target; Piloted and configured new solar unit product to aid in diversification of solar product portfolio; eventually demoed solar products. Intern #2: I worked on the Light for Health program, which aims at providing solar energy to birthing centers in rural areas. I created an excel sheet where I input all the information from clinics who want to participate in the program, as well as NGOs and local government units that have recommended them. I worked on creating the program manual, where consecutive stages of the process are described in detail. I was asked to help with technical calculations for a solar electric system which the Department of Education has requested from the organization for computer labs they want to introduce at 6000 schools in the country. I ended up consulting the calculations, adjusting them, and sitting through the meeting with the Department's representatives, which was an amazing experience. I learned quite a bit about how a social venture functions in a developing country, and how much work is required on the community level to make the foundation's work sustainable. Intern #3: I created infographic materials for solar hub; created operations manual for solar hub and evaluated solar hub sites. I also created all of the forms and guidelines for this new section to run and function. Through this experience, I learned startup logistics, form creation and business modeling.
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Stiftung Solarenergie, Philippines|
Tsinghua University, Department of Precision Instrumentation and Mechanology
Location: Beijing, China
About: The Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology (DPIM) originated from the Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Engineering, Tsinghua University, which was founded in 1932. The department is one of the earliest engineering discipline departments in China, mainly engaged in talent cultivation and scientific research in the field of advanced manufacturing, including Mechanical Engineering, Optical Engineering, and Instrument Science and Technology. Upholding Tsinghua University’s mission to “cultivate talents with a sound character of state and social services,” the DPIM always treats talent cultivation as its primary task, with the aim of cultivating outstanding “research, managerial, innovative, international” personnel in advanced manufacturing who master the trends of the times and pursue academic excellence.
Intern responsibilities: The IIP placement is within the Department of Precision Instruments and Mechanology and will focus on one of the following two projects:
- Observation on the velocity profile of blood flow in microchannel using micro-PIV system-The motion of the red blood cells (RBC) in microvascular is strongly dependent on time, flow and geometries, and the microfluidics provide a good platform to study the blood flow in complex geometries. In this study, a T-junction microchannel is to be designed and fabricated based on soft lithograph technology, to observe the red blood cells (RBC) motion in the daughter branches. The velocity profiles of the blood flow is to be measured by the micro-PIV system using the RBCs as tracers, and the effect of the size ratio of the daughter branches on the motion of the RBCs is to be investigated.
- Observation of the cavitation in a small glass venturi channel- The cavitating flow through a converging-diverging nozzle has important impacts on the engineering pipe flow and biomedical heart valves. To understand the cavitation of the liquid in small channels, a glass venturi shaped channel with the characteristic length of milllimeter is to be designed and fabricated. Using this device, the cavitation phenomenon is to be observed by a fast camera under the controlled driven pressures. Then the cavitation number and the effect of the liquid-solid interface are to be investigated.The IIP intern will participate in the experimental research related to microfluidic systems, and he/she will be responsible for the design and the proceeding of the experimental work.
Qualifications: This placement is ideal for candidates with interests in Mechanical Engineering, Fluid Dynamics, Bio Engineering, and Chemical Engineering. Experience and/or skills in technical drawing and common computer software, and basic experimental skills would be an asset.
Previous work responsibilities (in the words of a past IIP intern): Researched pulsatile flow and steady flow of red blood cells in a bifurcating microchannel and their clotting effects. This included designing the experimental setup, acquiring the necessary equipment and blood, fabricating microdevices, and running experiments.
View a PowerPoint (.pdf) by a past IIP intern:
Tsinghua University Intern PowerPoint #1
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: Tsinghua University|
University of South Bohemia, Institute of Physical Biology
Location: South Bohemia, Czech Republic
About: This project is part of the Biological Engineering Group in the Institute of Physical Biology. Brief background on the Group's main project: Frontiers of biology lie now in exact evaluation of biological processes, whether the field is called Systems Biology, Biological Engineering, or another name. There is currently discrepancy between processes observed in living cells, for example by microscopy, and models that are based mainly on biochemical observations--that is, interactions of proteins and metabolites extracted from the cell culture and examined in the test tube. There are many examples of non-homogeneous behavior in cells that have essential functional meaning and may be crucial for discrimination between living and non-living matter. In contrast to the prevalent approach the Group examines the macroscopic properties of cells and uses a stochastic systems approach from control engineering for model building. For that a new mathematical method of point information contribution and point information entropy hsa been developed, which is implemented into software used for evaluation of processes in living cells.
Intern Responsibilities: IIP interns may choose from a few existing projects or projects that align with the intern’s own interests may be arranged. Projects will include work in one or more of the following areas:
- Reconstruction of the living cells using optical microscopy in transmitted light and atomic force microscopy- This project will help IIP interns become acquainted with such microscopy techniques like atomic force microscopy (AFM) and optical microscopy. IIP interns will prepare on their own samples with lving cells for AFM imaging. Partakers will have an opportunity to work in the force spectroscopy mode in order to get information about mechanical properties and topology of different cell lines and to work with an optical microscope to obtain information on the cell interior. Also, the IIP intern will be introduced to image processing techniques based on information entropy approach. The aim of this project is to cultivate and fix cells, get images, perform image processing and reconstruction.
- Testing microscopes and algorithms developed at the ICS, tracking organelles- Their lab has developed an algorithm for 3D modelling and tracking of cell organelles and their images by an optical system of a transmission light microscope. The goal of this project is to develop and use 3D polygraphy for printing mass models of these organelles and their images by the microscope and find the trajectory of organelles' movement. The project aim is to develop a method of 3D polygraphy for printing mass models of cell organelles and draw the trajectories of moveable organelles.
- Fish school behavior in five information dimensions- Fish behavior is a prototype for behavior of higher organism. Upon their analysis, numerous extrapolations are made for fields as distant as robotics and human psychology.
Qualifications: Candidates should have an academic background in experimental or theoretical physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics, informatics, or mechanical, chemical, or electrical engineering. Basic chemical or biological laboratory skills, teamwork skills and computer knowledge are recommended.
Previous work experiences (in the words of the past IIP interns): Intern #1: I tested and calibrated microscope equipment to determine its optimal functional limits; analyzed data from these tests using the lab's computational analysis protocols; and made a final poster and presentation. Intern #2: I worked on protein crystallization and atomic force microscopy (AFM) of living cells, particularly osteosarcoma cells, strain MG-62, and mice fibroblasts, strain L929. With protein crystallization, I prepared lysozyme crystals by trying out two different methods -- sitting drop and microseeding -- and successfully yielded crystals. I tried to find a way to adhere the crystals to the microscope slide so the sample does not move when it is being scanned. I contacted with a professor from NASA in order to figure out what materials he used so that I can replicate his experiment where he successfully held the protein in place. With atomic force microscopy, I was trained on using the machinery and how the images can be used to determine biochemical processes that are occurring within the cell. This can be used to determine whether or not a cell is at risk of certain diseases, especially cancer. I also learned to cultivate cells and immobilize them for scanning by AFM. I was trained in using the machinery and using it to take elasticity measurements of the cell. I used this information to determine which cells were most compatible with which substrate, which helped determine what material something should be made out of for permanent insertion into the body. In the end, I presented my project on a PowerPoint and created a poster for future displays.
View a PowerPoint presentation by a past intern:
University of South Bohemia Intern #1
University of South Bohemia Intern #2
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here: University of South Bohemia, Institute for Physical Biology|
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, College of Architecture
Location: Anhui Province, China |Gansu Province, China|Shaanxi Province, China |Xi'an,China
About: Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology, College of Architecture was established by two pioneers in modern architecture education in China. There are three undergraduate programs: architecture, urban planning, and landscape, among which urban planning is designated as the national specialty. The school has nine subsidiary institutes together with an innovative national research team for architectural environment and energy consumption control theory in West China, a key lab for architecture technology in West China, and the Shaanxi Research Center of Monuments and Sites Reservation Engineering and Technology. The school maintains the leading position in the following areas of research: human settlement in vulnerable areas in West China, human settlement of underprivileged people, and cultural heritage preservation. In partnership with Wu Zhi Qiao Charitable Foundation, they are working to create sustainable infrastructure for bridges in rural communities in Western China. Wu Zhi Qiao (Bridge to China) Charitable Foundation is a non-profit organization based in Hong Kong that encourages volunteers, especially university student volunteers from Hong Kong and Mainland China, to build footbridges and village facilities in remote and poor villages in the Mainland with green concepts.
Intern responsibilities: In partnership with local volunteers, IIP interns will contribute to areas of investigation, design study, experiments, field construction and technical on-site supervision, so as to explore and demonstrate a suitable way towards ecological architecture suitable for China's poor rural regions. Throughout the project, IIP interns will need to understand the local livelihood, culture and environment; fully utilize local materials; and work closely with villagers to transfer practical skills and knowledge so that the villagers can take charge of maintenance work in the future. Over the past few years, the Foundation has successfully completed multiple bridge projects and one postquake village re-building demonstration.
Qualifications: Candidates with interests in architecture and civil engineering are encouraged to apply. Since the earth-based technology is easy to handle, IIP interns can participate not only in the design scheme, construction experiments, and on-site design during construction, but also parts of construction work.
Previous work experiences (in the words of past IIP interns): Intern #1: I helped with the construction of a village center in a village called Macha in the Gansu Province. There were there master's students from Xian who are in charge and I assisted them. Intern #2: We worked on repair and aesthetic improvements to the facade of many of the buildings at the Macha Village Complex in the Gansu Province. We also went to Guanxi and helped refurbish an old building to be used as a common space. Responsibilities were similar: providing labor and design recommendations. This experience has taught me many things about sustainable design and how to use earth's natural resources to create modern buildings. I learned simple ways of doing things with out the use of modern appliances. I also learned a great deal about Chinese architecture from the past and present. Intern #3: My work responsibilities coincided closely with the Macha village project. I worked on site to help contribute to the construction of the project. I helped to repair rammed earth walls and worked to improve the overall appearance of the building complex as it gets close to completion. Aside from the Macha project I also worked on a renovation project near Guilin in the Guangxi Province. It aimed to take a traditional dwelling and turn it into a exhibition hall that would then serve as a village center. On site we were able to help with small construction tasks and contribute ideas. Due to the nature of the old site and difficulties in finding materials locally there was much collaboration and brainstorming that needed to be done. We learned about the vitality and resilience of rammed earth technology, an ancient yet seemingly forgotten architectural practice that is key to attaining environmental sustainability in rural villages that are becoming increasingly reliant on fossil-fuel-burning modern technologies. Princeton's curriculum is often very theoretical in nature, forcing students to consider the "why?" in many situations. Our ability to provide input allowed us to help steer the project managers toward adhering its original mission and intent: providing an example of a modern building (in aesthetics and amenities) that exemplifies the usage of rammed earth technology.
View PowerPoint presentations from past IIP interns:
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology intern #1
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology intern #2
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology intern #3
Xi'an University of Architecture and Technology intern #4
|For UPDATED information on SUMMER 2017 and TO APPLY, click here:
Xi'an University, College of Architecture (Bridge to China)