Specialization: Mechanics. Internship: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA.
This competition winner for the young specialists’ internship was lucky enough to conduct his research in one of the best universities in the world – MIT. Beksultan is 24 years old and from Almaty. Now the winner of the Yessenov Foundation competition works as a mechanical engineer in one of the largest construction companies of Kazakhstan.
Our story’s protagonist was kept busy with his internship virtually seven days a week. And when you consider that his colleagues at the laboratory had a very warm relationship with the Kazakh, no wonder the Bioinstrumentation lab was like home to him for the three months of the internship. The laboratory is used for projects in such areas as optics, biology, chemistry, physics and robotics.
Why do You have such an interest in physics?
I wasn’t great at school in physics… until I transferred to a specialist maths and physics school. Behind every story there some great person who influences the fate of the hero. In my life that was my physics teacher Zhanimbubi Sergazieva. She was a strict and charismatic teacher, and she taught our souls as well as our minds. After her, physics made sense to me, and never seemed difficult any more. She was almost the only teacher in the school who constantly answered all my many questions. I also loved her stories about great people, grand discoveries, incredible experiments. Inspired by these stories, I began to learn how to look for answers to questions myself.
Tell us what was interesting in the laboratory?
We had to find a new innovative type of driving force that could be used both in the automotive industry and in medicine. The research was developing rapidly, and I was working on several projects at once. It wasn’t easy, but it was a huge experience for me. I worked with high-power laser systems and magnetohydrodynamic engines. Despite the fact that we only studied theory at the University, the expertise of my Professor, and access to books and articles helped me a lot. I made designs, studied aerodynamics and modeled physical processes. I also had the opportunity to participate in the experiments of colleagues in the laboratory, and they showed and explained to me the whats, hows and whys. Someone was engaged in physical installations, someone quantum computers, somebody else — genetics.
What did you achiece during your internship?
I learned how to work with measuring instruments and high-speed cameras, high-power lasers, different installations and machines for processing, drilling, burning and cutting. It’s one thing when you see this in a training video, and quite another thing when you work with this equipment itself, it takes your breath away. At the end of my internship, our team modeled and optimized several different engine models. The results of the work were less than we expected, but our work is definitely a step into the future, towards engines that will not pollute the environment.
What was interesting in your American internship besides science?
MIT has many opportunities: hundreds of clubs, seminars, training, societies. I went to swimming and football, but the most exciting thing for me was sailing, where we were taught to sail boats. I will never forget the first day of training: a strong wind picked up, and tacking, balancing meant I had to look out over 360 degrees so as not to tip over or crash into someone. It was extreme. But now I can confidently take a boat and go around the world. I was at a Professor’s barbecue, he showed me his house, and introduced me to his projects. The guests played different musical instruments there, I played dombra — some Kazakhs from Boston helped with the instrument. I walked a lot, all over Cambridge, Boston, New York. I met a lot of good people. I noticed that, living in a melting pot of different nationalities, you unconsciously adopt all the good qualities of everybody else.
I set at once my goal for the internship straight away: to learn new skills, gain experience, and understand what direction to specialize in further. I was torn between biomedicine, renewable energy and mechanics. The internship gave me a clear understanding that it is not necessary to choose something, on the contrary — all three directions can be combined. For time being I am working and gaining experience in industry. Then I plan to apply for a PhD program.
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