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Johanna P

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California Irvine (UCI)


Dark Matter, Dark Energy, Gravitational Lensing, Coding in python or C++, mechanics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics. Projects to code physics simulations.


Hi, I am 4th year graduate student at UCI. I get to study the coolest mysteries of the universe, dark matter and dark energy. I love helping students find their passion for learning and empowering them to be independent learners. Outside of physics, I enjoy playing volleyball.

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.

Simulation of Gravitational Lensing

Modern physics research is very computationally heavy, from running simulations to analysis of big data. A great place to start is with some basic coding of physical phenomena, either to do a calculation or a simple simulation. This project would start with learning the basics of python and then applying that to an interesting physics problem. For example we could investigate how we can observe black holes with gravitational lensing. We could then calculate what telescopes would observe in different cases.

What is dark matter?

Dark matter is one of the most interesting mysteries in physics right now. We don’t know what it is! In this project, we will investigate the current evidence for why we know dark matter exists and then do a literature review of current theories of dark matter. This project would teach research skills and cover the fundamentals of particle physics!

Investigating Dark Energy and the Early universe

Why is the universe expanding? This project would focus on understanding our current evidence for the expanding universe. An interesting calculation would be showing how we can get the age of the universe from telescope observations! Research would include learning about the hubble tension (why does the expansion of the universe seem different depending on how we measure it) which is one of the biggest points of contention in the field of cosmology today. This project could be running an early universe simulation and/or a literature review.

Coding skills

Coding: Python/Jupyter Notebook, Java, C++, Mathematica, Matlab, Github

Teaching experience

I have tutored students of all ages in math and science for the last 8 years. I am an adjunct professor at Orange Coast College and a TA at University of California, Irvine.



California Lutheran University
BS Bachelor of Science (2020)
University of California Irvine (UCI)
MS Master of Science (2022)
University of California Irvine (UCI)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Particle Physics

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