Undergraduate Research Assistant

The Burke lab of Columbia Universityfocuses on addressing scientific challenges in the field of combustion through a combination of novel experimental and computational strategies that employ high levels of automation, data analytics methods, and multi-scale/multi-physics models. 

We are currently seeking an undergraduate research assistant towork on a self contained project(s) that will make valuable contributions to one (or both) of the following areas of ongoing research. We primarily seek students to contribute to the first topic below, though an interested student may also have the opportunity to contribute to the second topic as well.

  1. Multi-Scale Informatics Code (MSI): Combines theoretical and experimental data to create optimized kinetics models for various combustion systems. Using these models, one can address a variety of real world problems, which include improving vehicle emissions, effectively destroying chemical/biological weapons, and developing novel engine designs. Projects related to the MSI code consist of the following:
    1. Writing a program in Python to parse journal papers to find and export data in a structured format.
    2. Writing a program or implement existing Python packages to recognize and easily convert units for MSI input data. 
    3. Assisting in writing additional modules for the MSI code in order to incorporate additional combustion simulations
  2. Jet-Stirred Reactor Experiment: A combustion experiment that consists of a continuous flow reactor (within which combustion takes place), along with various other plumbing components such as valves, mass flow controllers, pressure sensors, pressure regulators, and several analytical devices. The long term goal is to automate this experiment and couple it with the MSI code. Projects related to this experimental work consist of the following:
    1. Designing and constructing a new interface to control a set of solenoid valves, reading data from pressure sensors and other miscellaneous sensors, and linking this new interface to a lab computer. Labview experience is desirable, along with a basic knowledge of circuits.
    2. Constructing a new PC interface for operating mass flow controllers (Labview)
    3. Assisting with experimental operations and troubleshooting as necessary.

We are willing to work with the selected applicant to tailor the project to their individual research interests for a fun and engaging summer. 

Position Dates: 8-10 weeks

Hours per week:40

Paid Position: Yes

Credit: No

Positions available: 2

Eligibility: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior, SEAS

Student should be familiar with, but preferably proficient in, Python (or an equivalent language). The student would also ideally have some computational or modeling experience and, as relevant, some experience in Labview, electronics, and mechanical design.

To express interest, inquire about the position, and/or apply, please email Prof. Michael Burke (mpburke@columbia.edu) and cc Carly LaGrotta (c.lagrotta@columbia.edu) with the subject line “Summer Research Position”.