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1st year summer research

  1. Jan 31, 2010 #1
    Hi, I'm looking for advice on how to look for summer research in physics. I don't even have a area I'm looking for, anything thing is fine; I'm just looking for experience. Most of the programs for summer research I seen at my school are for 2nd,3rd,4th years.

    I'm at a pretty big school (Uof Toronto), there are many researchers. Do I just send emails to the ones that I'm interested? There are so many, I don't even where to start.

  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 31, 2010 #2
    You should either send an email to professors or visit their office during office hours, asking every professor individually until one accepts you. Let them know that you don't have much lab experience and they could give you project that is ok for you to handle.

    Some professors may be in theory field and may not accept even 3rd/4th year students, others that are experimental physicists may have something for you to do. You may start very slowly but it will be start of experience.

    As for choosing who to go to, well, every school has an explanation on their website about research in physics at the school, and which professors are in the field. A lot of them even have projects that are professors working on so read up and see what attracts your attention. Then start with those professors.

    In just about every research group people are working on different projects, ranging from some elementary applications to something that you may not have idea what it is about.

    In my current experience, me and my friend started with the same professor at the same time and are both seniors. However, he was out of school for six years and has now come back and the projects we are working on are completely different. He's is much more elementary as he hasn't had any lab experience for a while. Mine is however slightly difficult and actually required me to do a lot of reading which I liked as a challenge.

    Don't feel discouraged if they say no as they may not feel they could give you enough attention, but keep trying. There are so many professors you can choose from. As a start you could look at professors that are teaching the labs at your university and they are a good place to start.

    Good Luck
  4. Jan 31, 2010 #3
    I would. Maybe speak to one of your lecturers at the end of a lecture. Tell them you're interested in gaining some experience and would appreciate it if they (or if they know of anyone that can) can help.

    I'm not sure how it will be at your university however, but in my experience first years won't be accepted to do summer work: there are various reasons, none of which are anything you can do anything about - so what I'm saying is, don't let it bother you if you don't find anything but it's still worth a shot.
  5. Jan 31, 2010 #4
    Hey, I'm a second year here at UofT

    What I've been doing is sending emails out to professors whose research interested me. I basically introduced myself and gave them a bit of my background, told them what I was interested in, and asked some basic questions (one of which was along the lines of "Are there any positions in your lab open to undergraduates over the summer?"). Unless you sound like a robot who just wants to put stuff on his resume, profs are pretty open and friendly and reply within a few days. People tend to do this a bit earlier, but a lot of professors don't make decisions on this until the NSERC awards are handed out so it should be fine.

    Have you considered applying for NSERC awards at other universities? Some of them still have applications open (e.g. Ryerson, York(?)) or you could consider applying for an award at some mathematics departments since some of their projects tend to involve physics.
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