The Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Rochester has been awarded a grant of $434,468 to renew its Research Experience for Undergraduate (REU) program for another three years. The renewal—the sixth since the program was initiated in 1994—has already enabled more than 500 sophomores and juniors nationwide to undertake summer research projects with faculty members within the department.
Since its beginnings in 1994, Rochester's REU participants have given more than 330 presentations at professional and student research conferences, and co-authored 286 journal publications and conference proceedings. In addition, University of Rochester participants have written 76 theses in support of their Bachelor of Science degree.
"The REU program was an excellent experience," says Patrick Sheehan, a physics student who participated in the program in 2008. "It gave me the opportunity to see what it would be like to have a career in research. I think the most useful part of the program was the experience I gained in astronomy research, which I will be able to use in graduate school and eventually, a career in that field."
Rochester's REU students have earned many prizes and awards, including the 1999 American Physical Society's Apker Award for best undergraduate research. Two REU students were selected as APS Apker Award Finalists in 1999 and 2000, and a third won second place in the APS conference poster competition in 2001. Three REU students have won APS NY section Physics Outreach awards and four REU students have won the Astronomical Society of New York Undergraduate Student Prize for best research publication. At least twelve National Goldwater Fellowships and at least six National NSF scholarships have been awarded to REU students. And in 2002, REU student Stephen Thorndike and Professor Alice Quillen discovered an extra-solar planet.
The University of Rochester's REU program is co-funded by the Physics and Astronomy Divisions of the National Science Foundation and the ASSURE program of the Department of Defense. The Department's REU program is under the direction of Professor Arie Bodek and Project Administrator Ms. Connie Jones.