Aman Burman: Reaching for the Stars
From his acceptance into the prestigious World Science Scholar program to his research with top scientists in the United States, teenager from Dubai, Aman Burman shares his success story with GN Focus
How was your passion for physics born?
I developed an interest in physics and science at a very young age. I got a taste of astronomy and the cosmos when I was selected to attend Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) program at age nine. I took the Life on Mars course, which introduced me to planetary science. In 2016, I attended the CTY program at Johns Hopkins University where I learned exciting mathematical topics such as Euler’s formulas, Pascal’s triangle, etc. I was fascinated by what mathematics and science have to offer for the development of humanity.
Also, the transition to Dubai has certainly contributed to my interest in the subject. Dubai’s transformation to become one of the leading cities fostering creativity and science over the past decade has been instrumental in nurturing my scientific mind. I was fortunate to have mentors at school who inspired me to be curious and research the subject further at my own pace.
Could you detail the research work you have done and are currently pursuing?
Last year I was selected for the prestigious World Science Scholars program. Only 40 exceptionally talented scientific and mathematical minds were selected for the two-year program and I was the only student selected from the Middle East. As part of WSS, I have had the chance to conduct cutting-edge research on topics ranging from astrophysics to biology with eminent scientists and professors teaching at top institutions around the world. One area of physics that interests me a lot is cosmology which deals with the origin and development of the universe. I published an article about Fates Of The Universe in a journal about a year ago.
Currently, I am working a lot on the habitability of planetary bodies. I am incredibly lucky to be able to work under the supervision of a top scientist at a top US university. Apart from that, I perform data analysis on isotopic measurements of calcium-aluminum inclusions to analyze the origin of the universe and I also use specific libraries to develop gravitational wave detection tools . I would like to explore more and deepen my research in these areas over the next few years while at university. Finally, besides physics, I’m also working on a research project on artificial intelligence and natural language processing where I’m building a text synthesis system.
How have you generally spent your last summers cultivating your interests in STEM?
I believe that summer is the best time to deepen my passion for physics, mathematics and computer science by pursuing projects without the stress of school exams and homework. I was thrilled to be accepted into the Wolfram Summer School, which was for undergraduate and graduate students, making me the youngest of 60 students who entered the program this summer.
During the program, I discussed my 1:1 project with Dr. Stephen Wolfram and attended lectures by him and other researchers on topology, geometry and analysis of computable spaces, neural networks , the multi-computational paradigm and many other exciting topics. I researched the stability of a star-planet-moon three-body system. The goal of the project was to analyze the three-body problem of various star-planet-moon configurations in order to explore the stability and chaos of these systems.
To help me in the analysis, I created a viewer that allowed me to modify the initial conditions of the three bodies. Also, this summer, I’m taking a course called Planets, Moons and Their Stars: The Search for Life in the Cosmos, as part of Harvard’s summer science program to learn more about habitability. Last summer, I decided to take the Math 51 course, which was part of Stanford University’s summer program. Math 51 covers the concepts of linear algebra, multivariate calculus, matrix algebra, Markov chain, and eigenvalues, which are essential for better understanding astrophysics.
In the summer of 2020/2021, I did an internship at Class Card Inc redesigning the front-end interface of their flagship product using Laravel, a PHP framework. In 2019, I did an internship at the Indian Statistical Institute where I pursued a project on graph theory and Dijkstra’s shortest path algorithm. Thanks to this research and internships, I deepened my knowledge in physics, mathematics and computer science.
Besides academics, what other outreach activities are you involved in?
In the long term, I want to address the problem of the lack of schooling for disadvantaged children. I firmly believe that every child has the right to education, regardless of their social and economic status. Education opens up a world of opportunity for the disadvantaged and offers a chance to end the cycle of poverty. I founded prepsaurus.com which is an online platform offering course content at affordable prices. Prepsaurus offers a variety of courses such as Python for beginners, Scratch, MIT App Inventor, math and science courses. Young scientists can also research and publish their own papers on the website.
As a means of outreach, I am working with a Kolkata-based NGO to deliver programs and track the progress of over 1,000 students in the first year with a future capacity to accommodate 5,000 students. As a finalist in the RISE Global Challenge (a Schmidt Foundation initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt), I hope to scale this platform and reach students based in African countries, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other other developing countries. RISE has also provided me with many opportunities to impact the world.
Through RISE, I was able to learn more about MIT’s System Awareness Center and become an EnRoads Ambassador for climate action initiatives. I also had the opportunity to develop my leadership and entrepreneurial skills by learning from professors at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
What are your future plans?
I am extremely excited to continue my research in astrophysics and computer science with some of the greatest scientists who are at the forefront of astrophysics, cosmology, and computer science. My goal is to complete my undergraduate studies in physics at a top university and then pursue a PhD in astrophysics. I want to dedicate my career to developing a better understanding of the universe in which we live.
Dubai’s transformation into a leading city in promoting creativity and science has been instrumental in developing my scientific mind. »