Photonics & space internships await physics student

When she’s not aiming for the stars, she’s seeking light. Meet physics student Rhona Hamilton who is preparing for a semester of astrophysics and photonics in Japan.

As a recipient of a 2019 New Colombo Plan Scholarship, Rhona has a two-month photonics laboratory internship at the University of Tokyo. She will also complete an additional internship at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan.

Physics student Rhona Hamilton

“I really want to work as a researcher in physics,” Rhona said in an interview with Study Overseas.

“I’m looking forward to mixing Japanese literature and history with physics and science.

“The University of Tokyo is a research university too, like Adelaide, and each faculty has a large graduate department. It will be great for networking with people in my field.”

Rhona said that studying overseas paid itself forward in the long term.

“You can start (studying overseas) in your undergraduate degree, then in your future scientific career you will have all of these connections - like with people who have really neat particle accelerators or gravitational wave observatories,” she said.

“I think that specifically for science students, Japan has a lot of investments in infrastructure for scientific research.”

Physics student Rhona Hamilton with the Australian Telescope Compact Array

Rhona on her trip to the Australian Telescope Compact Array in Narrabri, NSW

Rhona has just returned from an internship in New South Wales, where she worked with CSIRO in their space science and astrophysics group.

“The project was mapping neutral hydrogen distribution in nearby galaxies - it was really cool,” she said.

“There was a trip to the Australian Telescope Compact Array, which is in a town called Narrabri. I spent a week there doing observations.

“Most of the internship was data analysis, so I had to give a presentation and report at the end about my research. It was a really interesting experience.”

Rhona previously completed a study tour with the Mistui Educational Foundation in Japan, which catalysed her decision to return. She also aims to keep improving her knowledge of the Japanese language and culture.

Rhona leaves for her exchange in March. You can follow her experience on Instagram at @uaoverseas.

If you’re interested in doing an exchange in Japan like Rhona, find out about the University's Japanese partners.

Physics & Space Science degrees

Tagged in School of Physical Sciences, Student & Graduate Stories, Physics, Space Science and Astrophysics, Study Overseas