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ADVICE NEEDED for first lab experience, undergrad

  1. Mar 10, 2012 #1
    Hello, I am pretty nervous about working in a lab for a professor at my university this summer... I am currently in the second semester of physics introductory courses, and this professor completed his PhD at one of the best universities in the world... Does anyone have any advice about what I should, or more importantly, SHOULD NOT DO during the 2.5 months I am working full time in his lab? I feel like I'm going to the White House and am terribly under-dressed!
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 10, 2012 #2


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    be honest about what you know and don't know
  4. Mar 10, 2012 #3
    Don't be afraid to ask questions! If you don't know what to do, ask.
  5. Mar 11, 2012 #4
    Great advice, thanks guys.
  6. Mar 11, 2012 #5
    Yes, the advice from wukunlin and Norfonz is definitely good. Do you know specifically what you're going to be involved in? It doesn't hurt to spend some time reading about the research, and perhaps about equipment you may be using, etc. This may seem difficult though since you're only in your second semester. I also first got involved in research around the same time and it was a bit overwhelming to make the jump from reading Halliday and Resnick to journal articles. But don't stress! The professor knows what classes you've had and so roughly your knowledge level.
  7. Mar 14, 2012 #6
    What I'm learning right now (doing undergrad research for the first time this semester) is to get well acquainted with the grad students in the lab. My professor is in the lab approximately two times a week. Most of it is spent in meetings. If you've got questions on how a piece of equipment works, or what specific procedure to follow, you'll likely need to find someone else to ask other than the tenured professor who is teaching, advising grad students, and doing research. Most of the time PhD students will gladly help you out (at least this is my experience).
  8. Mar 14, 2012 #7
    Awesome! Thanks for the heads up Wellesley, and good luck to you!
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