Azure Hansen

I went to high school and grew up in Marion, a small town east of Rochester, New York. I'm a physics and astronomy major here at Stony Brook University. I chose Stony Brook because it has an excellent physics program, and the relatively small number of physics undergraduates gives me more opportunities to get involved with research. The WISE program was a plus too. This semester I foresee that my favorite classes will be Honors Physics II, Honors Calculus II, Opportunities in Physics, and of course, Introduction to Research. Logic and Critical Reasoning should be interesting too.

I have always been interested in science. In high school I took all the science courses that I could, including anatomy & physiology, astronomy, C++ and meteorology. However, my choosing physics was inevitable. Watching Star Trek as a child provoked my curiosity on the subject while teaching me about wormholes, time travel, alternate universes, black holes, the Big Bang, star classification and more. I also learned fun words like "anomaly" and "tachyon." The Back to the Future movies further developed my fascination with time paradoxes. My high school physics teacher was absolutely wonderful (he was also my cross country coach) and taught me physics that was well beyond the scope of the class. When I was twelve, I did a science fair project on star evolution. As part of my research, I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking. It was then that I decided that astrophysics was perfect for me.

Currently, some of my favorite topics in physics and astronomy are string theory and spacetime foam, M-Theory, dark matter and energy, 13-dimensional space, time travel, the nature of mass and spin, quantum mechanics, and particle physics. The shadow brane theory of gravity is especially interesting. To understand my passion for physics, I suggest devoting three hours to PBS's recent miniseries, The Elegant Universe, which is based on a book I read four years ago…you won't be disappointed.

In my free time, I love to ski, stargaze, run, rollerblade, bike, snowboard, read (mostly physics books), travel, surf the Internet, play my clarinet, and spend time with my cats, friends and little sister. My favorite movies include The Matrix, Star Trek IV, Amélie, Totoro, 12 Monkeys, Austin Powers, the Star Wars classic trilogy, and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I've loved the books since I was eight). If I'm watching television, it's probably NOVA, Star Trek, The Simpsons, Whose Line?, Sagwa, CSI or Seinfeld. I grew up on Laurel & Hardy and Fraggle Rock. Two of my favorite books are Cat's Cradle by Vonnegut and 1984 by Orwell. I love classical music and instrumental soundtracks, but my favorite artist is Reznor.

This summer I hope to get a research position at the University of Rochester in astrophysics. In the coming years, I hope to land similar work at Kitt Peak, Mauna Loa, Brookhaven Lab, and in Japan. After Stony Brook I plan on going to graduate school and I will probably end up doing research at a national lab or institution.