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Prakamya A

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California San Diego (UCSD)


astronomy, astrophysics, cosmology, physics, planetary astronomy, stellar astronomy


Hello! I am a graduate student at UCSD with a passion for astronomy and physics! While I enjoy learning about everything from exoplanets to black holes, my research interests are in cosmology and instrumentation. This means I enjoy learning about the beginning and evolution of the universe, and I do so by building telescopes to study the oldest light in the universe called the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). I also enjoy teaching students of all ages and backgrounds about astronomy and physics to foster a greater understanding of the natural world around us. Outside of research, I enjoy playing dungeons and dragons with my friends, drawing, reading, and watching movies. I especially enjoy reading and watching content about science fiction and am currently reading The Martian by Andy Weir.

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.

To the nearest Pulsar and Beyond

Have you ever wondered about how astronomers study neutron stars? In this project, you will learn what a neutron star is and one way astronomical observers can study them! Using this website, you have a whole database of neutron stars at your disposal. With it, you will learn about a specialized type of neutron star called a pulsar and about how we can measure the distances to these objects. Choose up to 10 pulsars from this database and follow the procedure to find their distances. Then, you can plot their distances vs their pulse rate to notice any trends in the data. Do pulsars that are farther away spin faster or slower than ones that are closer to Earth? As an extra challenge, you can find how luminous the pulsar is in the sky and compare that to how bright it looks to us on Earth! All of this information and data about pulsars and their distances will be synthesized in a scientific research paper. That will be your opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and develop skills that researchers use to convey their own findings.

Coding skills

python, SQL, Linux, Verilog

Languages I know

Hindi: fluent, French: proficient

Teaching experience

I have taught in K-12 math and science classrooms across the East Bay throughout my undergraduate career. Additionally, I have 6 years of teaching in informal education settings such as museums and libraries. I was also an Undergraduate Student Instructor for an introductory astronomy course. I also mentored orientation leaders in my undergraduate institution over the course of several months.


Work experience

SLAC National Lab (2022 - 2023)
Research Assistant


University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
BA Bachelor of Arts (2020)
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
MS Master of Science (2022)
University of California San Diego (UCSD)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Astronomy and Astrophysics

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