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Anjali Nambrath is about to graduate from MIT with a dual degree in physics and math, but her big project this winter did not focus on neutrinos, the topic of her undergraduate thesis. Instead, she worked on translating “Hurlevents,” a Quebecois piece by Fanny Britt, from French into English.

I just fell in love with the show, says Nambrath, who has also acquired a French minor. She started the translation project during class 21M.716 (Play Translation and Cultural Broadcast), a class given by theater professor Claire Conceison. Playshtë is a show that entertains you and makes you laugh, but in the end leaves you with serious issues to think about. I think it’s nice when humor is used to gently introduce you to something.

Nambrath, who has been involved with the Shakespeare Ensemble all her time at MIT, says her studies in the arts and humanities fields of the Institute are as important to her future as her training in the fields. of science. I have learned how special it can be to exchange lenses with which you look at the world, she says.

Learning French has been particularly valuable, she notes, because the Global Languages ​​program approach enabled her to explore a wide range of other subjects as part of learning French. I have read literature, learned about history and seen great movies. Everything I am interested in is included in this program. It has been a window into all these other areas, she says.

Pushing the boundaries of knowledge

Nambraths’s goal is to become a practicing physicist in an academic institution and she says learning to see the world through a wide variety of lenses is essential to success in her field. In physics, she explains, the whole point is to find new ways to see the world. I think it is very important as a human being to stretch the boundaries of knowledge, to discover more.

To this end, Nambrath has been an active participant in the MITs University Research Opportunity Program. Through UROPs, she had the chance to work on an program that is looking for hypothetical elementary particles called stocks, for example, and is currently exploring a new way to look at neutrinos, a type of subatomic particle. Her university thesis, based on research conducted in the laboratory of Assistant Professor Or Hen, applies data obtained from electrons to facilitate a neutrino behavior analysis.

Very cool: from Fermilab to teaching children quantum

The project with Hen gave Nambrath the opportunity to work at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois a memorable moment, but just one of several during her time at MIT. Many of the researches I have done have been very interesting, says Nambrath. At MIT, you can just show up and really dive in. I did some equipment, some computational analysis, some theory. It’s fun to dip your fingers in them all.

Nambrath is the current president of the MIT Physics Students Association, and also enjoys sharing her love of science through the MIT Educational Studies Program, which in recent years has given her the opportunity to give a range of topics from the holes of black in the history of science in high school and high school students. I ran a course in quantum computing, and kids would ask all sorts of crazy questions, she says. Nice is nice to face that enthusiasm. Sometimes when you are having problems, week after week, you may think: Why am I doing this? When you are teaching, you remember why what you are doing is wonderful.

MIT passionate people

This excitement for research and teaching is exactly what first attracted Nambrath to MIT. One of the biggest things about MIT for me is, no matter what people are doing, they are so passionate about it, she says.

The translation of Hurlevents which is loosely based on Emily Bronts Wuthering Heights English novel turned out to be one of those passions for Nambrath. The project began as a class assignment urging students to translate a scene from a play that had never been translated before.

A colleague of Professor Conceisons sent me this play in Quebecois and I was obsessed with its language and ingenuity and purpose, says Nambrath, who later chose to finish translating the entire play as a standalone project. She has worked with both Conceison and Catherine Clark, an associate professor of French Studies, to complete the project. And now Le voil! a stage reading of the play (by professional actors) took place recently online on 30 April.

All these things

I did not realize how important translation work was until I did it, says Nambrath, noting that working on the project has given her an insight into the French-speaking people of Quebec, Canada. Quebec is just north of the U.S. border, but few here in the United States seem to understand much about culture, she says. During the translation project, she became aware of the tensions that arise between the Francophone community provinces and the wider, English-speaking Canada. There is a very complex game of identities, she notes, and some really interesting policies around language.

Soon Nambrath will go on to graduate in particle physics at the University of California at Berkeley, where she plans to continue looking at the world through the many lenses she has discovered during her MIT education. I love physics; understanding what is essentially happening in the universe is an ambitious, humble task, and an exciting endeavor to be a part of it. But if my life were just physical, I would feel very limited, she says. French and theater, literature, history and film all these things keep me complete.

Story prepared by MIT SHASS Communications
Editorial director and design: Emily Hiestand
Senior Writer: Kathryn O’Neill

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