Tyler Matheny

Departure Date:
Return Date:
Local Institution:
West Virginia University
Local Advisor:
Dr. Maura McLaughlin
Foreign Institution:
Square Kilometer Array
Foreign Advisor:
Dr. Jeandrew Brink
Student Status:
  • Q. What country were you staying in? South Africa
  • Q. Where were you doing research? Square Kilometer Array
  • Q. How long were you there? 6 weeks.
  • Q. What sort of research were you doing? Fitting for profile parameters of pulsars, both with and without glitches. Solving the geodesic equations of motion for a curved space and using these equations to model a pulsar in orbit around a black hole.
  • Q. Did being abroad influence the kind of research you’re doing? Yes, being in South Africa heavily influenced my research as it is the location of the Square Kilometer Array. It was a perfect location to do research involving pulsar astronomy.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing about being abroad? Seeing a different cultural perspective, and experiencing Africa instead of just reading or hearing about it was the coolest part of being abroad.
  • Q. What’s your favorite new phrase from the language? My favorite part of the language was the Afrikaans name for traffic light, robot. I was very surprised to hear robot while driving.
  • Q. What’s the hardest thing about being abroad? The hardest part was leaving behind the people I met and places I visited. It’s surprisingly difficult to leave once you’ve adjusted.
  • Q. What did you do in your free time? During free time we went hiking on Table Mountain, rock climbing, on safari park trips, and had barbecues. Dr. Brink introduced us to rock climbing and it has quickly become a new hobby.
  • Q. What’s the coolest thing you’ve done or seen while abroad? The coolest thing I did while abroad was hike to the top of Table Mountain, and stand on the edge to look down at Cape Town thousands of feet below.
  • Q. What advice would you offer others thinking of going abroad? Go abroad! The experience of going abroad can’t be properly put into words. If you have the chance, take it.
  • Q. What skills have you learned abroad? I learned how to operate a rope for someone top rope rock climbing.
  • Q. Is there anything you’d do differently or anything you wish you’d have known? I wish I had known just how much we were going to do besides learning great science. I was surprised and a bit unprepared for how much could be done on the weekends.