My name is Brandon Yalin and I am currently a second-semester freshman physics major at Stony Brook. I was born and raised here on Long Island in a small town called Ridge. Ridge is thirty minutes east of Stony Brook and just west of Brookhaven National Laboratory. Another physics connection to Ridge is that the Physical Review, the highly recognized physics journal, is located in Ridge.

As a young child I would allow my fascination with science to guide me through my days, where I would frequently visit my local aquarium, exhaustively watch all the science documentaries my local library had to offer, and perform small experiments of my own such as measuring the frequencies of my electric guitar strings and such.

I attended Longwood district public schools. The planetarium in our middle school broadened my curiosity with the universe and my place within it. Throughout high school, I explored several different fields of science by participating in programs such as the Science and Research Awareness Series held at Stony Brook University and the H.O.P.E program run through the University's Hospital.

It wasn't until my junior and senior years of high school that I really found my direction, first beginning with my AP physics class. I was drawn to physics instantly with its wide scope of application. My enthusiastic teacher with his quirkiness and passionate love for physics certainly rubbed of on me with his brilliant and over-the-top demonstrations that captured my imagination. I saw it as a tool for truly understanding the universe, under which all of science falls under its umbrella. In my senior year, I took an AP environmental science class in which I gained a worldly perspective that I shall always carry with me. I had the joy of being a part of a research project with my Environmental Science teacher involving the study of the Carmens river, where we raised hundreds of trout we were able to get from Cold Springs Harbor fish hatchery to be placed into the Carmans rivers ecosystem to revitalize diminishing trout populations in response to algae blooms. I had the pleasure of displaying this research to a variety of groups including Brookhaven National Lab, other high school research students in Italy, middle school students in my district, and to local NGO trout unlimited.

Apart from this I had an opportunity to combine my knowledge of physics and environmental policy by creating a mock bill related to thorium energy policy for the Princeton Model Congress. This experience proved invaluable for developing my understanding of where my passions lay; the several weeks of research and preparation for my presentations resonated with my love for scientific research. In short, my high school experiences showed me that someday I wish to raise public awareness of science and its implications in our global society.

I now have a deep appreciation and love for the field of physics - in my eyes the laws and theories of physiscs are like poetry describing the cosmos. The humbling understanding of our universe is something that gives great appreciation and meaning to my life, where my upcoming research experience within the laser teaching center under Dr. John Noé will certainly facilitate my growing knowledge.