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Helping with research over the summer

  1. Jun 16, 2008 #1
    I'm going into my senior year of high school, and I have completed the highest level physics course offered at my school. Would it be a waste of time to contact nearby universities to see if there are any opportunities for me to help with research over the summer? Do I simply not have enough physics education to be useful?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 16, 2008 #2
    That would not be a waste of time and would in fact be a very good idea. If the highest physics course at your school is AP Physics C, then you have (theoretically) the same amount of physics knowledge as a rising sophomore in college and there are quite a few rising sophomores doing physics research over the summer. If not, its definitely still worth a shot. You would be surprised how eager college professors and researchers are to accommodate motivated students even when those students are not affiliated with their university.
  4. Jun 16, 2008 #3
    The highest course at my school is actually quite shat, and I think at best I know the equivalent of a first year introductory physics class. I think I'll still drop a few emails, though. Thanks for the input.
  5. Jun 16, 2008 #4
    In experimental research, there is a lot of work to be done that requires no physics knowledge. I'm sure most professors could use an extra hand. Along the way you will pick up enough to help make research decisions.
  6. Jun 16, 2008 #5
    Yeah, it can't hurt. I wish I had known before that it really doesn't require physics knowledge to perform basic research. I didn't even bother asking if I could do research in my first year of college, and then a couple of months ago I figured "Well, it can't hurt to ask," and the very first professor I asked said yes, even though the only Physics course I've taken so far is Physics 1.
  7. Jun 16, 2008 #6


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    Can't hurt! There is always more work to be done in a lab than there are people to do it. I'm there is some professor willing to give you some work to do, especially if they don't need to pay you! Even if you are doing mostly organizational and computer tasks, you'll still be able to see what a real research environment is like. (College labs are no where close and high school labs are even worse at imitating what goes on in an active research laboratory.)
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