Terrence Pierre Jacques

Departure Date:
06/10/2016
Return Date:
08/10/2016
Local Institution:
Oberlin College
Local Advisor:
Dan Stinebring
Foreign Institution:
SKA South Africa
Foreign Advisor:
Jeandrew Brink & Sarah Buchner
Student Status:
Undergraduate
  • Q. What country were you staying in?
    • South Africa
  • Q. Where were you doing research?
    • SKA South Africa
  • Q. How long were you there?
    • 8 weeks
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing?
    • This summer I studied how to use software to accurately time and model pulsars, as well as the glitches that occur particularly in young and millisecond pulsars. I also learned some tensor calculus and used it to find equations of motion for orbits around schwarzschild black holes, starting from the line element description. I dabbled a bit using Blender to visually model pulsars orbiting black holes and the precession of the spin axis of the pulsar that results.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing?
    • Definitely, as I was able to interact with people from various backgrounds, and I felt like I was learning something new every day! And as an African American student, it was really inspiring to see other people of color in science and engineering working right beside me!
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad?
    • One of the coolest things about being abroad in South Africa was the environment, in terms of the numerous natural sights. Being from New York, I don’t get to see that stuff very often, and some of the places were just mind-blowing.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language?
    • Braai - a cook out starting from burning wood and cooking various meats. South Africa’s meat is pretty great!
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad?
    • Working around time zones to communicate with friends and family was hard for me. I like to stay updated with my younger brother, but being six hours ahead made that difficult.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time?
    • Hung out with my house-mates, who were also working with me. We explored Cape Town, went on several hikes, and climbed a ton!
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
    • Climbing up enormous sand dunes! I didn’t think they could get that tall!
  • Q. What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad?
    • Every morning I saw, and heard, hadida birds. They make the weirdest sounds…
  • Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad?
    • To just be open to new experiences, and to try not to arrive with any sort of stringent expectations.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad?
    • I learned how to belay in rock climbing! I had a vague idea before, but now I can do it safely.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known?
    • I wish I knew how to budget more efficiently, since it’s a required life skill.