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Christopher W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Aerospace, Computational Simulations, Climate Science


Hi there! My name is Chris Womack, I'm a third year Ph.D. student at MIT researching fast methods to simulate our future climate. To me, the intersection of science and policy is the most interesting topic, as solving a problem in the lab is very different from implementing it out in the real world. Because of this, I not only focus on problems in computational climate science, but also the way my research is affected by and could affect policy. Only by keeping all of these factors in mind can we perform great research with the potential to change the world. Outside of the lab, I love to dance, play video games, watch movies/TV, play intramural sports, and spend as much time as I can outside - as long as it's with my friends! I love to travel as well, and I've recently gotten into backpacking which has been such a fun experience. I'm a bit into photography as well as discussing films, and I'm happy to talk about pretty much anything (:

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Climate 2100

Our planet is going to look very different in 2100, and while it seems far away, the state of the world then has a huge impact on the decisions we should be making now! In this project, you'll be looking at answering some tough questions such as, how much warming are we going to experience? What are the most likely pathways for emissions? What you focus on is up to you, as this project has an incredible amount of variety (e.g. possible climate scenarios and warming due to different sources of emissions, to name two)

Mission to Mars

The year is 2032, and just next year the very first team of astronauts is boldly going into the unknown - the first manned mission to the surface of Mars. But how are they going to get there? How long will it take? When should they leave? You'll have to figure all of this out! In this project you will develop a basic model for how a vehicle can get from Earth to Mars (and hopefully back!), figuring out some orbital mechanics, physics, and rocket science along the way. What you focus on is up to you, as this project has many avenues to explore, lending itself rather nicely to a number of optimization problems (e.g. minimum flight duration or minimum fuel burn to name two).

Coding skills

Python, MATLAB, Julia, C++, R (ggplot2)

Languages I know

German, conversational

Teaching experience

I participated in MIT's Global Teaching Labs (GTL) my second and third years at MIT. GTL matches undergraduates at MIT with host schools in other countries, giving them the opportunity to teach a STEM subject for one month. My second year I worked in Kazakhstan, teaching physics and basic aerodynamics to tenth graders and my third year I worked in Andorra, teaching physics to eleventh graders. I've mentored several students on Polygence and work with undergraduates at my university.


Work experience

MIT Aerospace Computational Design Laboratory (2019 - 2023)
Undergraduate Research Assistant (Sep. 2019 - Jul. 2020), Graduate Research Assistant (Sep. 2021 - Present)
Northrop Grumman Aeronautics Systems (2020 - 2018)
Systems Engineering Intern (Jul. - Aug. 2018, Jun. - Aug. 2019), Modeling and Simulation Intern (May - Jul. 2020)
Selin Group at MIT (2023 - Current)
Graduate Research Assistant


Massachusetts Institute of Technology
BS Bachelor of Science (2021)
Aerospace Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MS Master of Science
Aerospace Computational Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MS Master of Science
Technology and Public Policy
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Aerospace Computational Engineering

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