Recent University Graduates’ Study and Work Experience

As the academic year comes to an end, several members of our staff have become a degree richer. We are happy to announce that Mārtiņš Klevs, Pēteris Zvejnieks, Daniels Heincis and Maksims Surovovs have graduated from the University of Latvia and have earned either bachelor or master of science degrees in physics.

The recent graduates share their university experience talking about their studies as well as their work at the Institute of Numerical Modelling.

BSc Pēteris Zvejnieks, BSc Mārtiņš Klevs, BSc Daniels Heincis

How did you choose the Institute of Numerical Modelling (INM) for your bachelor’s or master’s thesis?

Daniels I started working at the INM in the first year of my university studies. The project which I had worked on naturally turned into my bachelor thesis.
Pēteris I received a job posting in my inbox and I thought that I could be a useful addition to the team.
I found out about the INM from my coursemates. Here I found talented researchers that did research on an international level and were interested in having me as a colleague.
Maksims I have been working at the INM for quite a few years already, I also wrote my bachelor’s thesis here. Judging by my experience I was confident that here at the INM I would have the possibility of writing my thesis under an experienced supervisor. I knew that here I would also have the opportunity of using the skills that I had learned from my previous work or study experience.

What is your thesis on?

Daniels In my thesis the different factors that impact solar panel efficiency in the Latvian climate are discussed. I specifically researched the impact of the spatial orientation of the panels as well as the temperature on the amount of energy generated by the solar panels.
Pēteris For my bachelor’s thesis I developed a robust and efficient object tracking algorithm. It has successfully been used for tracking particles and bubbles.
My bachelor’s thesis considers the flow of a magnetohydrodynamic liquid that contains gas bubbles. Bubble flow in liquid metal can be used in metallurgy, where the bubbles are used for stirring and purification. Sometimes bubbles can be undesirable and the end product needs to be cleansed of them.
Maksims My thesis considers numerical modelling of impurity concentration in the silicon crystal growth process. This topic is closely connected to the research topics we work on with our lab group, meaning that there are results in my master’s thesis that are acquired in cooperation with other researchers from the institute.

What surprised you the most about your industry or the topics discussed in your thesis?

Daniels What I found interesting is that although summers in Latvia do not seem especially hot, the surface of solar panels still reaches 60°C sometimes.
Pēteris How cutting-edge the utilized methods are.
I was slightly surprised about how little MHD bubble flow is actually researched. Articles can be found on the flow of a single bubble, but very little has been published on many-bubble MHD flow.
Maksims I was surprised by the number of possible research topics. Although there are multiple numeric models that describe the silicon crystal growth process, and the process itself is well researched, you can always create new models, improve their precision or describe some aspects of the process that were previously considered only approximately or not at all.

MSc Maksims Surovovs

What do you like most about the Institute of Numerical Modelling?

Daniels What I like most about INM is the work dynamic. I often encounter tasks and problems from different industries, which means that I can never say that my work is boring.
Pēteris Colleagues.
I appreciate the opportunity to do all my work remotely – from my home computer. Remote work saves me time and money.
Maksims What I appreciate most is responsive and knowledgeable colleagues. They can both explain complicated physical aspects of the system in question, and share deep and thought-out opinions on recent events happening around the world during coffee breaks.

How did the remote learning process work for you? What did you miss the most from the House of Science?

Daniels For me, the remote learning process was not easy. It was difficult to get up on time to join the remote lectures. Despite that, I know that there are bright sides to everything – I am much better at using MS Teams. From the House of Science, I missed two things the most; the first is the option to study at the library at night. In my opinion, the House of Science has a motivating aura for learning. The second thing I missed the most is people, not just my coursemates, but also lecturers and students from other programmes. I enjoyed the opportunity of talking and getting to know new people during the course of everyday life. Sadly that wasn’t possible remotely.
Pēteris I am certain that face-to-face lectures are more effective, and it’s good to go outside every once in a while.
In my opinion, the traditional face-to-face lectures are more productive. What I missed the most is the study atmosphere at the House of Science, where I had the opportunity to talk to my coursemates and professors face to face in between lectures. With online studies, there is that feeling of aloneness when all the other students are just icons on my computer screen.
Maksims Remote learning process provided some difficulty, but overall the lecturers adapted very well to the new study environment. Of course, it was a pity that it wasn’t possible to attend lectures in the new lecture halls in the House of Science because for me they generate a special mood that inspires and makes the learning process more interesting.

What is the best advice you have received during your studies, and what would you advise to the youth that start their studies this year?

Daniels The most frequent advice during studies was: Complete your lab reports on time. That indeed is very good advice, but I would want to provide another piece of advice that I wish someone had given me when I started studying. Don’t take grades and the exam period too seriously. They are very important, but how much you learn and understand is the most important thing.
Pēteris A bachelor’s degree is just an introduction to physics.
A couple of the most important skills that a young scientist should have are independence and self-respect. If you have your own opinion, you must defend it, because nobody will do it for you. You should not confine yourself to only what other people ask of you.
Maksims Plan your time and complete all the assigned tasks! That will notably ease the learning process and will greatly impact the quality of the gained knowledge. There is nothing worse than the overwhelming feeling during your exam period at the end of the term when you have to deal with all the things that you postponed until the very last moment.