College of Science

UC Irvine

Deimos spectra

PHOTO (above): A snippet of a raw DEIMOS frame [trimmed in both the spatial and spectral dimensions], with on the order of 10-15 spectra running horizontally, from the DEEP2 survey (courtesy Michael Cooper).

UCI Astrophysics with the UCI SURF Program

UC Irvine’s Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program offers undergraduate students an opportunity to work closely with faculty mentors on research projects and provides an intense course of graduate preparation workshops. The SURF program, which is designed to prepare diverse students to enter graduate programs at UCI, provides the tools needed to facilitate application, admission, and enrollment to graduate school. Qualified students with interest in pursuing their graduate program at UC Irvine are especially encouraged to apply.

Below are examples of astrophysics research projects and the UCI faculty that CAMPARE scholars have worked with in the past: 

  • Observing Galaxy Evolution – Use observations from ground- and space-based telescopes in concert with computer simulations to study a wide range of questions related to the formation and evolution of galaxies over cosmic time. Potential research projects include: 1) the development of semi-analytic models of satellite quenching, using cosmological N-body simulations, 2) analysis of imaging data from the Hubble Space Telescope to study the size growth of massive galaxies in clusters, and 3) analyzing spectroscopic observations from the Keck Telescopes in Hawaii, with the goal of creating a comprehensive catalog of distant galaxies in legacy extragalactic fields. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Michael Cooper.
  • Simulating Galaxy Evolution - Run and analyze high-resolution, hydrodynamic cosmological simulations of galaxy formation. A major question to answer will be the role of stellar feedback in shaping galaxy properties and their dark matter content. Faculty Mentor: Dr. James Bullock.
  • Black Holes – Possible projects include: 1) Reverberation mapping – the measurements of active galaxy light curves and spectroscopy to map the environments of supermassive black holes that lie in the centers of nearby galaxies in order to measure the masses of the black holes, and 2)
    Measurement and modeling of molecular gas kinematics in nearby galaxies using data from ALMA (radio telescopes), to study the mass distribution in galactic nuclei and measure the masses of central supermassive black holes. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Aaron Barth.
  • Dark Matter & Cosmology – Work on analysis and visualizations of the search for cosmological dark matter in gamma-ray and X-ray data. Other potential projects include calculations of the production of the light elements and dark matter in the early universe, and galaxy clustering statistics from galaxy surveys. Faculty Mentor: Dr. Kevork Abazajian.
  • Gravitational lensing – Light from far-away galaxies and quasars are bent by intervening galaxies and clusters of galaxies (gravitational lensing) as predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. Using images of a multiply imaged galaxy or quasar and a fully developed code, students will infer the distribution of dark matter in it and the presence of less massive "dark galaxies". These kinds of studies have the potential to tell us something the nature of dark matter. Faculty mentor: Dr. Manoj Kaplinghat
2015 SURF students

SURF students at the 2015 Summer Research Symposium at UCI.

Program Details

What is it?

The UCI SURF Program provides a $4,000 stipend, $500 in travel expenses, and housing together with the rest of the SURF students in a UCI dormitory free of charge.

Upon successful completion of the program, all students will also be given the opportunity to attend the American Astronomical Society meeting the following January to present their research, funded by their research mentor or the CAMPARE program.

Who should apply?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by the beginning of the program. They must be enrolled in one of the CAMPARE participating institutions at the time of their application. Participants who will graduate from their 4-year institution in the spring prior to the start of the summer internship are still eligible for the UCI-SURF program. Community college students in the process of transferring to a 4-year institution are eligible to apply.

All applicants must have completed a minimum of one full year of college-level physics by the start of the program.

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 from June 24th to August 17th 2018. Participants must be available during the entire 8 weeks of the program.

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. AST-1559559.

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