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MIT-Imperial Exchange: Points, Colors, and Math

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MIT-Imperial Exchange: Points, Colors, and Math

[fusion_text]By Abby Harvey

This year, my summer revolves around points, colors, and math.

In the morning, I take the train from point A to B on the red line, and each night before bed, I calculate the extra few minutes of sleep I can afford to eke out before being late to work. At work, I plot points in ArcGIS based on population, colored by anything from population density to concentrations of deadly amines to lifetime cancer risks.

I’m working at Imperial College in London, my desk one amidst rows of grad students and cups of coffee. My project’s goal is to calculate lifetime cancer risks for populations around three coal plants which use a set of amines to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) pre-emission.

While these amines limit CO2 emissions at the source, they can actually cause cancer even at very small concentrations, so my research will help coal plants choose the right amount of amines to use.

London isn’t all work, however, and with the approximately 30 International Research Opportunities Program (IROP) students here at Imperial College, we get the chance to go out and explore London and the surrounding countryside.

During the first two weeks, I tried fish & chips at a local pub, watched Romeo and Juliet at the Globe Theatre, and tried the traditional British Afternoon Tea.


A statue honoring William Shakespeare near Leicester Square.

Last Saturday, I travelled to Brighton, a small coastal town in the UK. I visited a royal pavilion and learned about British history. Also, I got the chance to practice my geology skills at the pebble beaches at Brighton, and explore the arcade, food, and festival rides on the Brighton Pier.


The Royal Pavilion in Brighton.


A photo from the Brighton Pier showing the ocean & pebble beach.

On Sunday, I went to a Country Festival on the outskirts of London, where there were real baby farm animals! I pet llamas, cows, goats, sheep, and watched some chickens, turkeys and ducks strut around their enclosures. I also headed over to the main stage and listened to a live performance of Jamaican music. Like a classic American, I ordered some “cheesy chips” from a stand, and I was happily surprised when I was given my very own compostable bamboo fork to eat with!

This summer, MIT CEE undergraduates Abby Harvey and Milani Chatterji-Len are working in research labs at the Imperial College of London as part of the MIT International Research Opportunities Program (IROP). [/fusion_text]