UCL Careers


Maxi Töpf-Wilensky

BSc Mathematics w/ Mathematical Physics student Maxi conducted research on Particle Physics using novel machine learning techniques to aid in the potential discovery of a new particle in Israel.

UCL student Maxi.

Tell us why you wanted to undertake a global research placement.

My motivation for undertaking a global internship stemmed from my desire to explore a new culture whilst gaining meaningful professional experience. When searching for opportunities abroad, it was my intention to travel to a country hosting universities producing high quality research, as well as the country itself being rich in history.

What kind of impact did the placement have on your future plan? 

During my time at Tel Aviv University, I joined one of the Particle Physics teams of the university’s Physics and Astronomy department, and was supervised by one of their professors, who is a member of the Belle Collaboration in Japan. Their work involved making use of a new machine learning architecture to help calculate the branching fraction of the B+ → X(3872) K+ decay, and thus help determine the properties of the possibly new X(3872) particle. I was involved in optimizing the performance of the architectures being implemented by the group to improve signal versus background separation, as well as designing and programming new ones using Python’s PyTorch machine learning library. Finally, I had the great opportunity of presenting my findings at a symposium attended by professors and students at the university.

Top tips for interning in Tel-Aviv:

  1. Tel Aviv is full of fascinating museums, beautiful beaches, and also has the oldest port still in use in the world i.e. Jaffa port. One can also easily travel from Tel Aviv to Haifa, Jerusalem, Safed, Akko, and Caesarea with the train, or drive south to the Negev dessert where the dead sea is.
  2. I would recommend future interns to not just benefit from the work experience or knowledge they will gain during their program abroad, but to also take the time to read, explore, and get as acquainted as possible with the new surrounding they find themselves in. During my time abroad, I found that engaging on new cultural activities on a weekly basis provided me with the unique experiences, ideas, and perspectives one can only benefit from when exploring a new environment, and I have found this to be one of the most valuable and irreplaceable parts of the program.