Lawson 1

Lawson's Story

Spectroscopy and samba in Rio de Janeiro

For two consecutive summers, Lawson worked on spectroscopy of hydrogen with Prof. Claudio Lenz Cesar (MIT PhD'95 Physics) at the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, with the goal of building new tools to improve resolution of spectroscopic methods in atomic physics research.  He helped design and implement a mirror system to be used in a joint project with CERN in Switzerland to conduct detailed spectroscopy of both hydrogen and anti-hydrogen.  Lawson appreciated the mix of strong science at the university and vibrant culture in Rio, and soon found himself participating in capoeira (Brazil’s beautiful martial art) and attending local samba music performances at the Pedra do Sal and other historic sites throughout the city.  Currently, Lawson works as an MIT Admissions counselor.


  • Lawson 1
“Despite how much I was told about the differences between the US and Brazil, whether that be wealth or safety or culture, I still had so much to learn through experiencing Brazil for myself. Despite the need of money for survival through food and other necessities, I now, with all my heart, understand how little it contributes to a person’s happiness. After experiencing the work culture and lifestyle of people in Brazil, I plan to make sure that at least one day of every week I will do something completely away from work and school. This sort of ‘reset button’ revealed itself as a way to create an overall less stressful, more positive, and more productive lifestyle.”
  • Lawson 2
“I knew the MIT-Brazil program would give me the opportunity to see a whole new world, but I never could have expected the extent to which my experiences have given me a whole new world of thinking. In all honesty, this experience has been the most valuable and life-changing experience I have ever had, and I could not be more grateful to have been given this chance.”
  • Lawson 3

Antonio's Story