Meet the REUs

Ben Siegel

Home Institution: UC Santa Barbara
Research Project: Large single-electron response CCDs to search for dark matter
UW Mentor(s): Alvaro Chavarria

Q: What are your physics/science interests?
My goal in science is improving what we are capable of measuring to discover the vast unknown that lies just beyond our reach. Making detectors to use with optical telescopes or to search for dark matter have been my experiences in this area so far. I enjoy them because they have a more hands on feel for studying things, such as the weakly interacting dark matter "particles" or galaxies millions of light years away, that seem impalpable.

Q: What are your other interests?
I casually play piano and play clarinet in a pops orchestra. I am a big audiophile which I got from my father. I have over 80 gigabytes of classical and jazz pieces, but that's nothing compared to his collection, an entire room with the walls lined with CDs and records. Other than that it's just the normal things like reading and mindlessly watching YouTube.

Q: What would you like to do after college?
After college, assuming that includes graduate school, I plan on maybe going into industry for a while for a fresh experience since I'll have been doing research in academia for so long. Most likely I'll come back to academia and maybe become a professor. Teaching seems very intimidating to me, but with my undergraduate experiences I will at least know what not to do.

Q: Tell us one strange but interesting fact about yourself.
I pole vaulted in high school but had to stop eventually because my form was so bad I went over the bar sideways.

Q: What first sparked your interest in Physics?
I don't think there was any moment in particular that sparked my interest in physics. I have always been curious about how things worked, and physics happened to be the most fundamental study of that.

Q: If you could have any pet what would it be?
I would feel bad having some exotic type of pet because they are just so much work. I wouldn't have enough time for it. A normal shelter medium to large sized dog or a shelter cat is fine with me to be able to give an animal a happy life. Why stop at one pet when you could have four though to keep each other company?

Q: If you had a free month and unlimited funds, how would you spend your time?
I would either take a trip across southeast Asia to visit my friends from Thailand, India and Taiwan or go on an extravagant food trip trying to eat at as many three star Michelin restaurants as possible.

Q: If you could get a grant to study anything what would it be?
I think it would probably be more of the same I'm doing now, just making more detectors. I want to work at the IceCube neutrino observatory in Antarctica some day so maybe a grant involving that.