Princeton University’s annual Research Day gives early career researchers a chance to show off their work in a range of fields — from art to science to social justice — this year in a virtual format.
Three-minute video presentations from undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and other researchers are available to be viewed online at researchday.princeton.edu. On Thursday, May 6, at 4 p.m. a live award ceremony takes place online. Access is free, but registration is required for the awards program.
Among the presentations:
“Please Pay Attention: Using YouTube’s Ad Algorithm to Analyze the Presentation of Unwanted Information,” by Justin Curl of the Class of 2022, explored the effect of user behavior on the length and frequency of ads seen on YouTube. Their findings —that those who almost always skip ads are more likely to be shown more, shorter ads that don’t have a “skip” option — could have implications for organizations trying to convey information people don’t necessarily want to hear.
“Too Cool For (Fossil) Fuel: Producing Biofuels with a New Method,” by graduate student Shannon Hoffman, focuses on cellulose — a polymeric sugar abundant in all plants — as an alternative to corn for the production of biofuels. The use of cellulose is currently costly because of the length of time it takes to break down, but Hoffman has developed an emulsification method that relaxes cellulose’s molecular structure, making breakdown substantially faster.
“‘Weird Romance’: Adaptation Error and the Science Fiction Musical,” presented by Violet Gautreau of the Class of 2022, explores the widely criticized 1992 musical adaptation of the 1974 science fiction novella “The Girl Who Was Plugged In.” Summarizing her analysis of how the adaptation deviated from the original, Gautreau writes, “I found that the adaptation process removed the central capitalist critique from the narrative, causing the story to both switch genres (from true science fiction, which relies on social critique by way of estrangement, to fairy tale) and present a message that diametrically opposes its own source material.”
“‘Wet markets,’ COVID-19, and the wildlife trade,” presented by graduate student Bing Lin, explores public policy options that place limits on wet markets that harbor illegal wildlife trade and can cause disease outbreaks while also acknowledging the important role that other live animal markets play in providing populations ready access to food.
“Nanoparticle Delivery of Delamanid for Cost-effective Treatment of Tuberculosis,” presented by Satya K. Nayagam of the Class of 2022, discusses work being done in the lab of chemistry professor Robert Prud’homme to create a better delivery method for a novel tuberculosis drug that does not absorb well into the body when taken orally. The addition of the nanoparticle coating appears to accelerate dissolution of the drug and increase the amount of the drug that is successfully absorbed, allowing for a decrease in dose size without substantial increase in the total cost of treatment.
“DISEMBODIED: Dancing in the Datascape,” presented by Molly Bremer Niara Hightower, both members of the Class of 2022, translates the anonymous data sets of COVID-19 mortality information into works of art that better convey the human toll of the pandemic.
“Our performance bridges distance between the tragic realities that COVID-19 data represents and our socially distanced selves. We transformed COVID-19 death count datasets into a sonic and visual landscape, an immersive performance space we call the ‘datascape,’” the students note.
“A Fresh Look at Fresh Memes,” presented by Rachel Myers of the Class of 2022, discusses the evolution of memes as a form of communication and attempts to answer the question if internet literacy is a prerequisite for fluent understanding of memes.
“The Tactics of Talent: An Analysis of Army Officer Talent Market Design,” presented by Carter Gipson of the Class of 2021, investigates if the new Army Talent Alignment Process through which the army assigns officers to new positions achieves an optimal distribution of talent.
“I show that although ATAP is an improvement on the Army’s legacy assignments process, it achieves suboptimal talent alignment,” Gipson writes in his abstract. “Moreover, it places onerous demands on officers and units who need to provide extensive, difficult-to-collect information for the system to succeed; it is susceptible to manipulation by savvy units; and it fails to account for a wide range of bigger-picture personnel management considerations.
“Analyzing Micromobility within the Urban Transportation Landscape,” presented by Ari Riggins, a member of the Class of 2023, reports on her research done in a dynamical systems lab at the University of Maryland. She studied patterns of electric scooter usage in three major cities and their relationship to disparities within city life using data on origin, destination, and timing of trips in combination with census data.