College of Science

UC Davis

UC Davis

Above: Research samples. Left, a nanowire (black) lying across three gold contact pads (orange); even the wire's length is less than the thickness of a human hair. Right, a quasicrystal pattern used in computer simulations.

Physics and Astronomy Research at UC Davis

The UC Davis Physics Department hosts students from around the country through its summer REU program. The program centers around the students' individual research projects, each supervised by a faculty mentor. These projects span the entire department; examples include

  • developing and testing electronics for dark matter detection
  • growing and studying new materials, using techniques such as nuclear magnetic resonance, scanning tunneling microscopy, and photocurrent microscopy
  • characterizing the atmosphere of nearby exoplanets
  • data analysis of heavy-ion collisions that create quark-gluon plasmas, similar to the very early universe just after the Big Bang
  • quantum Monte Carlo simulations of magnetic and superconducting transitions, to identify the key materials properties that produce such behavior

Our various projects fit students with a wide range of backgrounds and interests. In addition to the research, the program includes several scientific and recreational field trips, overview presentations on current physics research topics, and information on careers in physics and graduate school.

A summer student's calculations to distinguish pions, kaons, and protons

A summer student's calculations to distinguish pions, kaons, and protons through the energy they lose in collisions.

Program Details

What is it?

The UC Davis REU program runs for 10 weeks, from June 17 through August 25, 2018. Students must be able to stay through at least the ninth week.

CAMPARE students will be part of the REU program. They receive a stipend of $480 per week, housing with the other REU students, a food allowance, up to $700 towards travel to UC Davis, and assistance towards presenting their work at conferences. On weeknights (Sunday through Thursday), a team of two or three students cooks dinner for the entire group. Each student cooks only once per week.

Who should apply?

Undergraduate using an arc furnace, summer 2017.

Undergraduate using an arc furnace, summer 2017.

Students applying to the REU through CAMPARE must be enrolled in one of the CAMPARE participating institutions at the time of their application. They must also continue college as full-time students in Fall 2018. Students in the process of transfering from a community college to a four-year institution are welcome to apply.

Although much of our funding is restricted to US citizens and permanent residents, we welcome applications from non-citizens and may be able to make alternative financial arrangements.

When and How to Apply

Applications are due February 1, 2018. To apply to the program, follow the Application Instructions

In addition, you must ask two faculty members (or others familiar with your academic or work background) to submit letters of reference using the link on the application instructions page. Indicate their names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses in your on-line application where appropriate. It is your responsibility to confirm that these letters have been sent and failure to obtain these two letters will render your application incomplete and lead to its rejection without review.

Successful students will be notified in March. The research program runs Sunday, June 17th to Saturday, August 25th 2018 (10 weeks). Participants must be available through at least Friday August 17.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-1322432.

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