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DIVSS Students in Focus: Alfred Mishi

28 Jul 2021, 14:29 UTC
DIVSS Students in Focus: Alfred Mishi

Credit: Alfred Mishi.

Alfred Mishi a Dunlap Instrumentation Virtual Summer School Student from Makurdi, Benue State, Nigeria. He recently completed his Bachelor of Science Degree in Physics at the University of Jos, Nigeria. He joins the Dunlap Instrumentation Summer School virtually from Makurdi.

How did you first become interested in astronomy? 
As a secondary school student, I always inquired to know more about natural observations. I knew there had to be concrete explanations for  [things like] “why do stars fizzle out in a Universe?” My acquaintance with Professor Duhr Claude, a theoretical physicist, through a conference exposed me to some answers. He explained the “arrow of time problem” and went further to tell me how physicists were working to unmask a more fundamental source for the arrow of time. This encounter developed my interest in Physics and answering fundamental questions about the Universe beyond the earth surface.
What most interested you about Dunlap’s instrumentation school? 
My fascination with the fundamental theories underlying natural observations led me to applying for the Dunlap Instrumentation school. I was interested in knowing more about the Universe through the application of light. Learning more about how light is processed by optical instruments such as telescopes to help provide observational data (or rather astronomical data) so we can understand everything in the Universe beyond the earth surface.

What have you enjoyed most about the school so far? 
I enjoyed the lecture on “Introduction to Optics” by Professor Paul Hickson. Also, I enjoyed the first lab. At first I was lost but I did ask questions so I could understand the tasks given and what was required of us. The team spirit I saw in my breakout room made me feel that I was also welcomed. Finally, I am very happy with the way the lecturers (Professors) answer questions. They try their best to carry you along.

What do you hope to be next in your future? 
My immediate objective is to work towards a Master’s in Astronomy, leading to a PhD. Specifically, I hope to secure a fully funded MSc Scholarship in astronomy come the fall application in Canada. I graduated with a first-class honours with a GPA of 4.85/5.0. I believe it’s not yet time for me to sit back and relax but also to push further and make my own contribution in the whole of astronomy. Representing my country at the 2nd ASEAN+3 Junior Science Odyssey in South Korea in 2013 at a very young age has made me know that there’s more outside of Nigeria waiting for me to explore.

Is there an astronomical you’d like to help solve? 
The challenge in studying cosmic magnetism is that, while stars and galaxies can be seen directly by the light they emit, magnetic fields are invisible even to the largest optical telescopes instead requiring the detection of polarized radiation, radiation which exhibits the effects of magnetic fields. The desire to be part of those who would help solve this problem has motivated me to opt for a career in research in the field of astronomy.

“These images reflect my interest in cosmic magnetism.” – Mishi. Credit: SKAO.
Credit: Chris Mihos/ CWRU.
Credit: Alfred Mishi
Credit: Alfred Mishi

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