Meet the Team: Sam Benjamin

Headshot SB

Name: Samuel Benjamin

Age: 19

Major: Photonic Sciences and Engineering

Class Standing: Junior


Sam was born and raised in Orlando. Science has always captured his interest and playing music has long been a part of his life. As a child, Sam dreamed of being an architect.

He has played at NYC’s Carnegie Hall in a symphonic performance. The acoustics were glorious, he said.

He has multiple roles in the CATE Experiment. They include making sure our experiment gets quality data and analyzing that data once the experiment has run.

As a roller coaster enthusiast and a thrill lover, he is tempted to say flight week as what he is looking forward to most about this experience. But in the long run, contributing data and conclusions planetary science is what he is looking forward to most. This will be his first time publishing (and hopefully presenting) serious research; if we can contribute anything of use to current accretion models, he will consider this project a wild success.

His plan for after college right now is to seek higher education in optics and photonics, preferably in telescope instrumentation. It’s still early in his undergraduate career, however, so he plans to explore other photonics specializations such as laser engineering and augmented reality systems (i.e. the new Google Glass).

CATE is helping Sam accomplish his goals by being his first intensive involvement in undergraduate research. CATE is helping by exposing him to the scientific process in an interdisciplinary group. For instance, the engineering and science needs of CATE’s design have already conflicted with each other, and the classroom is a place where you may never encounter such problems. CATE offers a rare platform to learn the back-and-forth dynamics that come with working on a professional team.

If Sam could be an animated character he would be Ash Ketchum, because “let’s be honest… who wouldn’t want a Pikachu as a travelling companion,” he said.

When asked about his celebrity parents, he chose either Bear Grylls from Man vs. Wild or Survivorman. This is for no reason other than that their jobs are insanely cool, he said.

Comments are closed.