Stanford University
SESUR student group

Potential Projects for Summer 2023

Projects for Summer 2023

SESUR applicants - Stanford Students

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved in one of these projects, you should contact the faculty member  and other mentors directly.  This list is not comprehensive however, and many other projects are possible.  Please visit this page often for project updates.  Also, feel free to explore all our faculty research areas and contact anyone whose research interests you.  For your reference, you can also view the project archives at the bottom of this page for an overview of previous year's submitted projects.  From the departments of Earth System Science, Geophysics, Geological Sciences, and Energy Sciences & Engineering. 

SURGE applicants - Non-Stanford Students

If you are interested in getting involved in one of these projects, please indicate so on your application. This list is not comprehensive however, and many other projects are possible. Feel free to browse the list of faculty research interests and indicate, on your application, anyone whose research interests you.

updated on 11/22/22

Potential Projects

Ice Penetrating Radar: Science and Engineering to Explore Ice Sheets and Icy Moons

Category(s): Climate Change, Dynamic Earth, Planetary Science
Department: Geophysics

The Stanford Radio Glaciology research group focuses on the subglacial and englacial conditions of rapidly changing ice sheets and the use of ice penetrating radar to study them and their potential contribution to the rate of sea level rise. In general, we work on the fundamental problem of observing, understanding, and predicting the interaction of ice and water in Earth and planetary systems. Radio echo sounding is a uniquely powerful geophysical technique for studying the interior of ice sheets, glaciers, and icy planetary bodies. It can provide broad coverage and deep penetration as well as interpretable ice thickness, basal topography, and englacial radio stratigraphy. Our group develops techniques that model and exploit information in the along-track radar echo character to detect and characterize subglacial water, englacial layers, bedforms, and grounding zones. In addition to their utility as tools for observing the natural world, our group is interested in radio geophysical instruments as objects of study themselves. We actively collaborate on the development of flexible airborne and ground-based ice penetrating radar for geophysical glaciology, which allow radar parameters, surveys, and platforms to be finely tuned for specific targets, areas, or processes. We also collaborate on the development of satellite-borne radars, for which power, mass, and data are so limited that they require truly optimized designs. Student projects are available in support of both ice penetrating radar instrument development and data analysis.

Skills/Interest/Background: Computer Programming, Engineering, Physics, Scientific Programming

The Arctic Ocean: A Tale of Three Systems

Category(s): Climate Change, Dynamic Earth, Ocean
Department: Earth System Science
Mentor: Prof Kevin Arrigo, Mentor: Matt Mills, Mentor: Gert van Dijken

Detailed observations of microalgal blooms in the Chukchi Sea have been largely made at a time of year when most of the Chukchi shelf is already in open water. As such, the relative rates of daily net primary production (NPP) by sea ice microalgae, phytoplankton living beneath the ice, and phytoplankton in open water are not well known. Additionally, the fate of the organic matter associated with these three NPP sources is poorly known. Hence, there is a strong need for comprehensive measurements beginning in late spring that capture all three blooms, with particular emphasis on particle export events.

Ideally, our field campaign in the summer of 2023 will allow us to capture the transitions between the sea ice algal bloom, under-ice blooms (UIBs), and blooms in the open ocean. Our primary objectives are to 1) Compare the biomass accumulation and daily rates of NPP for microalgae associated with sea ice, UIBs, and open water blooms, 2) Assess the vertical sinking rates of individual particles associated with microalgal blooms associated with sea ice, UIBs, and open water and the factors controlling those rates, and 3) Determine the vertical export flux of organic C fixed by sea ice microalgae, UIBs, and open water phytoplankton.

The student would be expected to participate in a 45-day research cruise to the Chukchi Sea from early June to late July 2023. The student's duties would be to help collect and analyze samples on board ship and provide general assistance to the research team.

Skills/Interest/Background: Biology

Sketch to 3D for real-time design feedback

Category(s): Climate Change, Energy, Human Dimensions and Sustainability, Planetary Science
Department: Civil & Environmental Engineering

The Stanford Center for Integrated Facility and Engineering (CIFE) is researching how to answer the ever-growing construction demand, properly. This project targets the latency between schematic and development design phases in today’s Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) workflows. This high latency problem is caused by technology bottlenecks and insufficient information to make real-time informed decisions. To solve this issue, we are exploring state-of-the-art research in artificial intelligence (AI) for Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) and Building Information Modeling (BIM). Indeed, from simple inputs (sketch, audio, text, image), Generative AI produces actionable information related to geometry, semantics, construction costs, energy consumption, structure, wind, construction schedule, and cost. This summer project will focus mainly on modalities such as sketches and text. Furthermore, we will improve our open-source tool Vitruvio, integrating it with Omniverse (NVIDIA) and other design tools. This project will focus on how AI can augment human capabilities in designing more collaboratively, environmentally sound, and sustainable buildings. 

Skills/Interest/Background: Computer Programming, Engineering, Machine Learning, Mathematics, Scientific Programming, Statistics

American Public Opinion on Climate Change

Category(s): Human Dimensions and Sustainability

For more than a decade, my team has been studying what the American public thinks about climate change. And in numerous surveys, we have found that the vast majority of Americans are on the "green" side of the issue. But in recent surveys, we have conducted numerous experiments exploring how survey question wording influences responses. This is an opportunity to study the impact of question wording generally in surveys (can survey results be believed? Or are they so fragile and easily manipulated by question wording that they should not be trusted?) and the robustness of Americans' opinions on the issue. We will conduct statistical analyses of the data collected in these experiments, and write up a paper for publication.

The undergraduate will build the databases for analysis using many survey datasets, and then the student will conduct statistical analyses of the data using Stata or R and will draft a manuscript.

The student will benefit in the following ways: (1) gaining understanding of the structure and nature of survey research, (2) gaining understanding of procedures to design and conduct objective data collection, (3) gaining understanding of conducting elementary statistical analysis of quantitative data, (4) gaining understanding of how to write up research findings in ways suitable for publication in academic journals, and (5) gaining understanding of how to design and conduct experiments embedded in surveys to document the causal impact of news stories on peoples opinions. The student will work as part of a large team of post-docs, graduate students, and undergraduates working with Professor Krosnick and will participate in regular meetings with the team, which will provide exposure to scientific careers and offer resources on which to draw when learning how to do work. And the student will meet weekly with Professor Krosnick to review and plan research activities.

It would be desirable for the student to have experience with statistics and data base management, but these skills are not necessary. We welcome all students who are interested in understanding how to use scientific methods to document public opinion about climate change and to learn about the science of survey research.

Skills/Interest/Background: Statistics
IconsList of icons used on the sitemaillinkedindouble carrot leftarrow leftdouble carrotplayerinstagramclosecarrotquotefacebooktwitterplusminussearchmenuarrowcloudclock