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Research During COVID-19

Amidst the chaos and unpredictability that the emergence of COVID-19 has created, researchers at Notre Dame’s Electrical Engineering Department have been discovering new ways to adapt and continue their research from home.

Research consists of two phases, with the first of those being the use of simulation tools and theory to develop an idea or a method to solve a problem. After that, testing is completed in a lab setting to see if the theory works or not. Due to the lack of access to labs,  graduate students such as Arash Ebadi Shahrivar, have found themselves focusing more on the first phase of research.

Along with the absence of being in the lab, one of the biggest challenges has been, “to create a daily routine similar to the way [he] worked in the lab” Shahrivar said.

Researchers have been working to maintain normalcy in other ways as well, such as attending virtual conferences like Telecommunication Certification Body (TCB) Council workshop that Shahrivar presented on April 9th. Shahrivar was able to present his work on exposure measurements of multi-antenna portable devices.

Shahrivar has even noted the benefits these changes have brought about; such as saving time by eliminating his commute and being able to attend every meeting from one room.  What has surprised him the most, is the fact that much of the work can be done at home and be as productive as usual,”  said Shahrivar.

“We are also spending fewer resources on the same work. For example, for the TCBC conference, I saved at least two days of traveling and spent nothing on transportation and hotel accommodations. Besides money, we are helping keep the environment cleaner.” Shahrivar noted.   He noted that many cities around the world have reported cleaner streets and better air quality in recent weeks.

As these are unprecedented times, no one knows what research will look like in the coming months, but for the time being, researchers are doing their best to keep up with their work.