Princeton Research Day, the University’s celebration of research, scholarship and creative work, is entirely online this year, with all video submissions viewable starting April 30. The top videos will receive awards at PRD21 Mainstage online on May 6 at 4 p.m.
Now in its sixth year, Princeton Research Day highlights research and creative work by undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other early career presenters.
“The research we produce on our campus is world-changing; Princeton Research Day offers us the chance to circulate it, to interrogate it, and to celebrate it with a broad and engaged audience,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan, the Annan Professor in English and professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts. “I’m delighted that we can come together this year virtually to stage Princeton Research Day. Each year, I so appreciate that we can all take a moment to focus on and to celebrate the research that happens in our labs and studios and other workspaces all over campus.”
The popular event features presentations in the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and engineering. The 3-minute videos are now available for viewing by the public.
“The pandemic has brought into focus, with unprecedented sharpness and clarity, the importance of communicating to broad audiences about complex topics,” said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “Princeton Research Day offers the opportunity for our early career researchers and students to describe their research and creative works, which are often quite specialized, in ways that resonate broadly with people from a range of backgrounds.”
A select panel of judges will evaluate the submissions. All are welcome to vote for their favorite video to receive the FitzRandolph Gate Award.
The PRD21 Mainstage, an online exposition on May 6 at 4 p.m., will feature the presentation of awards and cash prizes to the top videos. During the program, the broader Princeton community — as well as viewers worldwide — can ask questions and engage with the presenters in a live, online format.
“It is one of the really unique opportunities on an international scale that advanced undergrads have to express their research,” said Ilia Curto Pelle, who participated last year as a sophomore with a presentation on serrated coins produced during the Seleucid Dynasty, roughly 150 years B.C. “The effort to prepare and to distill my thoughts into a presentation actually helped me engage more fully with my work.”
Alice Tianbo Zhang, who last year was a postdoctoral researcher in Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, presented on the “Power of the River: Introducing the Global Dam Tracker.”
“Princeton Research Day was one of the highlights of my postdoctoral research appointment,” said Zhang, who is now an assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University. “Even though the sessions happened remotely due to COVID, with recorded talks, the day brought a sense of community and a shared sense of purpose. It was amazing to see the breadth and depth of research being carried out across campus by people with such a diverse set of interests, backgrounds and expertise.”
Chemistry graduate student Loi Nguyen, whose entry was on quantum spin liquids, said, “After I presented my research at Princeton Research Day 2020, some people reached out to me and asked more about my work. The experience helped me feel more confident in presentation and communication. I would recommend that other science researchers participate, because effective communication is key to success in research.”