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Like many who come to Caltech to learn and explore, undergraduate Damien Bérubé dreams of changing the world with science and engineering. But his personal vision—the force that drives him in the classroom, the lab, and beyond—is an uncommon one.
“Whenever I see a new student standing alone during rotation, I remember how welcoming students were to me when I got here, and how it made me feel comfortable,” says Teresa Tran, a junior biology major at Caltech. “So I think to myself, ‘That’s how people are here—and I am part of this community now.’ I’ve sometimes surprised myself by initiating conversations with people I don’t know because that’s something I never really did before coming to Caltech.”
Even our most reliable ideas about how the universe works break down in certain domains. They can’t account for the weirdness of quantum mechanics or the recursive chaos of fractals. Hungry for answers, many researchers—including one Caltech undergraduate and her faculty mentor—aim to come up with a better explanation.