Summer internship opened doors to quantum physics research, new friendships and travel

Master’s student Duarte Feiteira from Portugal spent summer doing an internship in the Aalto Science Institute international summer research programme
Duarte Feitera
At campus, Duarte Feitera liked the various shared spaces for co-working, like Otakaari 1.

New friends, experiences of the Finnish culture, and novel confidence in international academic work: these are some of the things that Duarte Feiteira mentions when asked what was best about his summer internship and the Aalto Science Institute. During this visit, he took part in a research project in quantum physics as well as joined a network of other interns from different fields.

Feiteira is one of 52 participants who attended the summer programme for foreign researchers and students from June to August 2023. The paid internship programme attracts participants from all over the world each year to Aalto University’s campus, offering foreign students the possibility to join in Aalto research groups as well as network internationally.

In his home country of Portugal, Feiteira studies physics at Instituto Superior Técnico in Lisbon. He is currently working on his master’s thesis on gravity. At Aalto, he wanted to take his mind off the thesis. As Feiteira’s other interests relate to condensed matter and quantum mechanics, he joined a project led by Aalto Research Fellow Alexander Zyuzin. The work proved fruitful.

‘In the project, we had experimental results which indicated that a two-dimensional superconductor had a property – a critical temperature – whose value differs from the one expected from theory. My job was to explain through theory why this happened. Final results are not in yet, but we now have a method for explaining the phenomenon. I will keep in touch with Alexander Zyuzin and continue to work with this remotely from Portugal,’ says Feiteira.


Campus and nature impressed

Feiteira, who spent most of his time at Aalto reading and writing, was impressed by the campus and its shared spaces for studying and working. His favorite was the learning center library. 

The best part of the programme for him however was meeting new people and making friends with whom he traveled both within Finland and to Sweden and to Estonia.

‘We interns had lunch together and hung around during our spare time. Organizers of the programme arranged sports nights for us, and there were some preorganized trips as well. I got to participate in organizing trips to the cities of Porvoo, Turku and Tampere. Tampere is the northernmost place I have ever traveled to. The forests and the lakes in Finland are so beautiful. Nature feels close. That impressed me the most while living and traveling here,’ says Feiteira.


New skills and plans for the future

Feiteira is happy with his experience in the programme and living in a foreign country.

‘I am pleased with the academic work that I had the opportunity to do. At the end of the summer we had a poster session with all of the interns to show our colleagues what we had done during the summer. This was my first interdisciplinary presentation session,’ Feiteira says.

Feiteira hopes to keep in touch with his new friends, maybe even collaborate with them in the future.

‘After this experience, I would really like to come back to Finland. I would like to do a PhD here or in another Nordic country’.

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