Jorin Graham '19
Finding direction in the City of Light
Jorin Graham '19 credits his decision to major in physics largely to blind luck. Although he had never studied physics before coming to Whitworth, he says, "It seems to have worked out OK so far."
That's an understatement.
Graham spent last summer in Paris carrying out physics research with cutting-edge laser technology. He was accepted into the Optics in the City of Light Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program, which is run by the University of Michigan.
"By far, the most exciting thing about participating in this REU was the opportunity to spend time in Paris," Graham says. "Beyond the world-class museums, music, food and scenery, my experience of Paris was enhanced by the opportunity to work there. Commuting to the university on the train, spending my days on research, and interacting with researchers allowed me to see a side of Paris not available to tourists."
The program enabled Graham to perform research in the area of ultrafast optics, specifically on the optical properties of nanoparticles.
Graham says the experience was particularly special because one of the founders of the program, Gérard Mourou, won the Nobel Prize in Physics last year, and Graham got to learn about him from program coordinators. "I heard a lot about his work, which has exerted an enormous impact in ultrafast optics," Graham says. "He also helped develop LASIK surgery as we know it today, so I was able to see the effect of his work both in scientific research and in everyday life."
Graham says he received extensive support from Whitworth as he pursued the internship. Upon arriving back to campus, he found that support continued.
"My Whitworth professors really helped me go beyond the technical information I learned in my internship to understand the deeper implications of my experience," he says.