Friday, May 14, 2021
https://clas.uiowa.edu/meet-researcher-joshua-doucette

What is the focus of your faculty-mentored research?
The focus of my research with Professor Usha Mallik is participating in the ATLAS group’s Dark Matter / Dark Energy Search; the data is taken at either the LHC or Brookhaven National Laboratory. This falls under the umbrella of the work done by the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN for short.

Tell us about the broad impact it has/could have.
The impact of this research is a particle physics-level description of how dark matter originates and behaves in the universe. Understanding dark matter and dark energy will be one of the biggest revelations in mankind’s understanding of the universe ever. The technologies that could be developed using dark matter are numerous and plentiful; as with any scientific breakthrough. Yet we still need to find the dark matter and understand it before we can worry about engineering and application.

What do you love most about conducting research with faculty mentors?
Every day my research has different unique problems to be solved that utilize many areas of my skillset, including mathematical problems, physical problems, and computational problems. I love conducting research because I get to learn something new every day in a very hands-on way. Since we are conducting pioneer research in the field, it never feels like the same job for more than a day or two. Due to the variety of problems to be solved from different fields, a good advisor who knows the right people is crucial. No one is more suited to help advanced undergraduates than Professor Usha Mallik. Professor Mallik is one of the greatest, if not the greatest human being on the planet. It is a pleasure to work with her and her expertise. She has been very instrumental in developing my interest in experimental physics and I find working with her to be the best part about the research I conduct. She pushes me to go above and beyond, but provides the support to make the impossible happen. 

What do you like to do when you’re not busy with school?
I play drums in a heavy metal band called Ironclad dissidence. I also play the guitar, piano, and many other instruments; as well as make beats on my laptop. I am obsessed with music theory and write chord progressions and melodies for fun with my friends. I recently have been creating small electronic hardware projects, like amplifiers and guitar pedals; to advance my electronics and audio engineering knowledge. If I am not writing music or building something, then I usually am writing software for small projects that my friends and I work on, including: video games, procedural music generation, music tools, web scaping, advanced calculators, etc.

Favorite things to do in IC?
My favorite thing to do in Iowa City is to go to Freddy's Frozen Custard & Steakburgers and get frozen custard. (NOT PAID ADVERTISEMENT, IT'S JUST THAT GOOD). Iowa City is such a beautiful place that its very relaxing to walk around, meet people, and take a break from the physics.


Joshua Doucette is a third-year student working in CLAS toward a bachelor of science degree in physics and mathematics, with a minor in computer science. He is a recipient of the 2021 Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award from the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduates.