Understanding the Intricacies of Complex Systems: The Perfect Blend of Science and Art

During his time in high school, Gosha Geogdzhayev attended science classes at Columbia University, including one called The Physics of Climate Change. He recalls being captivated by a satellite image of the Earth’s atmosphere, finding it incredibly beautiful. This sparked his interest in climate science, which has since become one of his primary passions.

Together with the MIT Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences and the BC3 Climate Grand Challenges project, Geogdzhayeva is developing climate model “emulators” to localize the large-scale data provided by global climate models (GCMs). While GCMs can make broad predictions about climate change, they are not as effective at analyzing impacts in specific areas. On the other hand, “emulator” models, which are simpler, can learn from GCMs and other data sources to answer specialized questions. Geogdzhayev’s current focus is on creating a model that will project the frequency of extreme heat events in Nigeria.

Geogdzhayev, a senior majoring in physics, hopes that his research, both present and future, will contribute to reshaping the scientific approach to studying climate trends. More accurate predictions of climate conditions can have wide-ranging benefits beyond scientific analysis, influencing the decisions of policymakers, businesspeople, and anyone concerned about climate change.

“I’ve always been fascinated by complex systems and breaking them down to understand their intricacies,” says Geogdzhayev.

Geogdzhayev’s pursuit of discovery has taken him on a journey from Berlin, Germany to Princeton, New Jersey, with various stops along the way. He has collaborated with organizations such as Transsolar KlimaEngineering, NASA, NOAA, FU Berlin, and MIT. Through the MIT Climate Stability Consortium’s Climate Scholars Program, he has held research positions that explore climate science from different angles. His projects have involved applications such as severe weather alerts, predictions of late seasonal freezes, and eco-friendly building design.

The power of words

Even before his passion for climate science emerged, Geogdzhayev had a deep love for writing. Recently, he discovered original poetry dating back to his middle school years. To his surprise, he found a poem about climate among his early works. In his own words, the poem was “so bad,” but it revealed an intriguing connection to his current path.

As a scientist, Geogdzhayev finds that poetry helps quiet his busy mind. Writing serves as a means to understand himself better, and in turn, communicate more effectively with others—a skill he deems crucial for success in his field.

“Effective communication is at the core of impactful work. Poetry allows me to strengthen those communication skills. If I can effectively communicate with myself and convey my thoughts to others, it translates to the realm of science,” he explains.

Since the previous spring, Geogdzhayev has been attending poetry workshop classes at Harvard University. He appreciates the opportunity to explore spaces outside of MIT’s environment.

He has also been a prolific contributor to various platforms on campus. Since his first year, he has been a staff blogger for MIT Admissions, sharing his experiences at MIT with prospective students. Additionally, he has written for the annual fashion publication “Infinite Magazine.”

Merging his passion for science and writing, Geogdzhayev will soon have a peer-reviewed publication featured in the journal “Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena.” The piece delves into the validity of climate statistics under climate change using an abstract mathematical system.

Leading with heart

Geogdzhayev thrives in collaborative settings but also excels in leadership positions. When he first arrived at MIT, his dorm, Burton Conner, was undergoing renovation, preventing direct access for its residents. However, once his sophomore year commenced, he eagerly volunteered to streamline the process of integrating new students into the community. He ultimately became the floor chair for his living community, Burton 1.

In the wake of social stagnation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the dorm renovation, Geogdzhayev played a key role in rebuilding a sense of community for Burton 1. He organized social events and participated in government organization on the floor. He now considers the members of Burton 1 as his closest friends and partners in “general tomfoolery.”

His leadership abilities are complemented by a passion for teaching. Geogdzhayev serves as a peer mentor in the Physics Mentorship Program and has taught climate modeling classes to local high school students through SPLASH. He describes these experiences as “very fun” and can envision a future as a university professor dedicated to both teaching and research.

Following his graduation, Geogdzhayev plans to pursue a PhD in climate science or applied math, as he envisions a lifetime dedicated to research. “I can see myself working on research for the rest of my life,” he affirms.

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