Summer REU Program

by Tino Nyawelo - Asst Professor (Lecturer)

The Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program is designed to provide students with an introduction to the world of scientific research in the fields of Physics and Astronomy. We successfully recruited seven undergraduate students from around the nation to work closely with the following faculty and staff mentors of the Department of Physics & Astronomy on an individual project:

 

  • David Kieda: Observational Astronomy
  • Kyle Dawson: Observational Astronomy
  • Jordan Gerton: Biophysics
  • Saveez Saffarian: Biophysics
  • John Belz: Cosmic Ray
  • John Matthews: Cosmic Ray
  • Shanti Deemyad: Experimental Condensed Matter Physics
  • Julie Callahan: Education

The 2013 program began on Monday, June 3, 2013 and ended on Friday, August 9, 2013.

The overall goal of REU program is to:

  • Educate students in modern research & laboratory techniques
  • Give students a clearer idea of their options for a future in research
  • Motivate students toward careers in science
  • Provide exposure to scientific research for students who will go on in other fields
  • Improve student literacy as well as written and oral communication skills

The program seeks to accomplish the first four goals by incorporating students into potentially publishable research projects. Over the course of the 10-week program, each student engaged in research under the supervision of one of the above mentors. Among the non-research program activities students will participated in weekly physics seminars tailored specifically for the REU summer 2013 students. Additionally, they went on several field trips including a visit to the Telescope Array site, and a trip to Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake. These activities are summarized in the table.

On Tuesday, June 19, 2013, students visited the Telescope Array site, located near Delta about three hours drive southwest of Salt Lake City. This is an experiment to observe ultra high-energy cosmic rays. When the cosmic ray collides with the gases of the Earth’s atmosphere, it generates a shower of billions of secondary particles. This shower can be observed by two methods; sampling the footprint of the shower when it reaches the Earth and by the scintillation light generated as the particles pass through the atmosphere.

The ability to speak or write coherently and professionally about scientific research is an important aspect of the scientific process. Requiring students to write a report and presentation of findings at a closing symposium could accomplish the last goal. The ability to speak or write coherently and professionally about scientific research is an important aspect of the scientific process. Requiring students to write a report and presentation of findings at a closing Symposium could accomplish the last goal.

DateActivitySpeaker
June 3, 2013 Orientation: INSCC 110, 12 noon-2pm, Saveez Saffarian & Tino Nyawelo REU Orientation
June 6, 2013 Seminar: INSCC 110, 4-5pm Pearl Sandick Physics & Astronomy
June 13, 2013 Spin Physics Seminar: INSCC 345, 4-5pm Christoph Boemhe Physics & Astronomy
June 18, 2013 Cosmic Rays Seminar: INSCC 110, 4-5pm John Matthews Physics & Astronomy
June 19, 2013 Tour Telescope Array Project Trip to Delta, 9am  
June 20, 2013 Magical Magnets Seminar: INSCC 345, 4-5pm Joel Miller Physics & Astronomy
June 27, 2013 Virus assembly & replication: a biophysics perspective, Seminar: INSCC 110, 4-5pm Saveez Saffarian Physics & Astronomy
June 30, 2013 Trip to Antelope Island: Great Salt Lake  
July 10, 2013 Astrophysics Seminar: INSCC 110 4-5pm Kyle Dawson Physics & Astronomy
July 11, 2013 Organic Photovoltaic Solar Cells Seminar: INSCC 345, 4-5pm Valy Vardeny Physics & Astronomy
July 18, 2013 Plasmonic Nano Structures Seminar: INSCC 345, 4-5pm Jennifer-Shumaker Parry Chemistry)
July 25, 2013 Seminar: INSCC 110, 4-5pm Shanti Deemyad Physics & Astronomy
August 2, 2013 REU Symposium