Student Profile: Dorsa Majidi

July 19, 2019

Dorsa headshot


UCLA | Los Angeles, CA | 2021


Academic Major: Physics


Hometown: Tehran, Iran


“I am a lover of poetry. I grew up in an environment where poetry was highly appreciated and almost all stories were told through poems. I developed a passion for them and started writing my own poems when I was in middle school.”


Tell us…


What is the topic of your research this summer and what are your related goals?


“This summer I am working with John Forbes, studying the possible formation of over-massive brown dwarfs. While over-massive brown dwarfs are allowed to exist according to the laws of physics, the rate at which mass can be added to a brown dwarf before it ignites as a star is highly uncertain. This critical rate determines which astrophysical circumstances may produce over-massive brown dwarfs, and hence how common they are in the Galaxy. We are employing the MESA (Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics) stellar evolution code’s binary evolution model to learn the fate of brown dwarfs gaining mass under different scenarios. We test cases where the binary evolves under gravitational wave emission and Roche lobe overflow, as well as mass transfer via accretion from an AGB (asymptotic giant branch) wind.”


What area of astronomy fascinates you most or brings out the most passion in you?


“At the moment, as I am discovering my scientific passions, I find myself interested in a couple of areas in astronomy and physics. I am fascinated by topics such as cosmology, stellar astronomy, and high energy astrophysics. I wish to study the evolution of the universe starting at the Big Bang and along with it the greatest mysteries of modern physics. I have always liked the challenge of discovery in this topic. By looking into the unknown, we create the possibility for new answers in the field of physics, and that excites me the most. Even though we may not arrive at the solutions we expect, only our curiosity can help us move forward in our understanding.”


What do you aspire to do?


“What I aspire to most in life is to grow with every moment that passes. I hope to be wiser everyday as I learn from the one before. I strive to be more ambitious and determined when I face new challenges. I want to be empowered by the strength that yields kindness. This is the least and the most I could wish for.”


What significant lessons have you learned this summer so far?


“This summer has turned out to be quite significant for me. Banneker Institute emphasizes our personal and educational growth as a collaborative process with workshops and classes. I have learned a great deal about scientific research and how to absorb the content in published papers. I have learned to appreciate the whole process of conducting research. I have also been encouraged to maintain a healthy life and work balance to maximize my growth. The program has also taught me about the importance of social justice awareness and development of a global solidarity in shaping the future of our world. I have embraced my individual value and importance as a member of society as I can influence others with my ideas and beliefs. I have learned so much from everyone in the Banneker Institute that I will always remember.”


What parts of your experience with Banneker would you like to see modeled in the broader astronomy community?


“Banneker Institute has welcomed me to what I consider my second family. It has been an experience I wish I had encountered throughout my all my years in school, and being here has begun to help me take control of education. I also appreciate learning what I have in a community of peers who inspire and enlighten. I hope for a similar experience for all in the broader astronomy community in order to achieve a more promising future for scientists.”


What would you say to a student who is considering applying to Banneker in the future? Can you recall the reasons you applied?

“I would highly recommend applying to Banneker. The personal and educational growth that I achieved in this program is one of my most useful achievements. The bonding and the friendship that students establish throughout the summer is something students like me will cherish. I applied to the program because of how it combined social sciences and astronomy research. I also found it helpful to talk to former students of the program to hear about their experiences.”