Comps Insider: Julianne Pyron ’19

Julianne Pyron ’19, a double major (physics and archaeology) from Houston, tells us about her senior capstone experience, or ‘Comps,’ in support of her physics degree.

Jan. 29, 2019

Julianne Pyron

What is the title of your Comps?

Astrophysics in Film: The Physics of Interstellar 

What is your Comps topic ?

I am doing my Comps on the film Interstellar. Particularly, I am looking at the physics behind the astrophysical phenomena portrayed in the film. Ultimately, I want to see if the physics in the film is accurate!

Why did you choose your Comps topic?

Seeing Interstellar during my senior year of high school is what made me want to study physics. I've had this topic in mind since my freshman year at Carleton!

What was the most interesting article/or piece of information that you found while researching your Comps?

In Interstellar, the astronauts visit a planet called "Miller's Planet," which is an important section in my Comps. I wanted to know the mass of the planet, and I ended up emailing Kip Thorne, who is a Nobel Prize winner and worked as a scientific consultant for the film. He ended up saying that the planet has no specific mass — it made my calculations a little harder but I'm happy he responded!

What was/is your Comps process like?

My Comps process was a three-week "flash" — I started working on it the minute I got back on campus from break and submitted the first version on third Friday. 

Why do you think it was/is valuable for you to write a Comps? 

My Comps has really helped me integrate what I've learned in all of my physics classes. I think it is an important capstone to have in my physics education. 

Will you expand on your Comps in any way?

I have only completed my first version, and I still have two more versions to go. I also have a Comps presentation coming up on February 15!