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Kai is originally from Panama City, Panama and is working with Dr. Kevin Bandura on CHIME Outrigger projects. CHIME and the recently built Outrigger have been outfitted to more effectively detect fast radio bursts (FRBs) which are mysterious transient radio pulses of unknown origin. He is working on the commissioning of the timing of the CHIME Outrigger located at Green Bank Observatory. The timing is a crucial aspect of the implementation of very-long-baseline interferometry (VLBI) which essentially creates a telescope with a dish the size of the distance between the two telescopes. In order to implement VLBI the Outrigger and CHIME use GPS and atomic clocks and these clocks need to be in-sync in order to see the different arrival times of the signals at each location. The different arrival times also allows researchers to triangulate the location of where the FRB came from, down to where in its galaxy it came from.
What attracted you to this REU Program?
"Dr. Bandura's work attracted me initially. I would like to go into the field of instrumentation and I hadn't had the opportunity to do so at my university and Dr. Bandura's research was right up my alley. Being in close proximity to GBO and the telescope that he was working on was amazing and that I would have the opportunity to work on the telescope and do meaningful work on it really appealed to me. As well, when I looked into the area I was super excited about all of the nature and outdoorsy opportunities there were."
Most surprising thing about the REU Program?
"The biggest surprise for me was being able to go to Green Bank only the second week that I was at the REU, that was a dream come true, I got to help with things on the telescope and we got to problem-solve on-site."
How do you plan to use this experience in the future?
"I plan to continue into the field of instrumentation. Next summer I will try to continue work on CHIME and Dr. Bandura may help me get opportunities in Canada or at other schools with connections to CHIME. Regardless, this REU has helped me know for certain that instrumentation is what I want to do for my future. Most of all, the people I have met here I hope to keep in contact with and cross paths again, this cohort has been absolutely amazing and I can't wait to see where we all end up and what we end up doing."