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How are the REUers?

  1. May 30, 2007 #1
    I'm currently in a REU program... the whole thing involves an ion accelerator. Currently, the vacuum system needs come tweaking, and my job is to play around with the program called "vaktrak" (coded by a physics... to calculate pressure profile for a lattice structure), and find what is the best way to improve the vacuum system. Sounds exciting? not really, otherwise I wouldn't be typing here. I did a lot of guestimation when inputing the data into the program, and I'm not even sure if the results that I am getting are correct or not... I doubt any of those guestimation and my playing-around-with-the-program would be taken very seriously. so, basically, I feel that my work here is pretty much... not very useful. would've been nice if I can gather data, interpret them, and make some sense out of physics.

    does anyone else feel the same way? or are you guys doing some more exciting projects?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 30, 2007 #2
    Mine is fairly boring
    We are mid experiment so theres not much for me to do until the next experiment begins
    I a working in a Chemistry lab doing Intra-Cavity Absorption Spectroscopy, currently analyzing Methane, soon to begin Diatomics like Palladium Carbide
    Theres not much work for me to do as of yet, I have been organizing the lab, taking inventory
  4. May 30, 2007 #3
    just starting. read a few pages of notes.
  5. May 31, 2007 #4
    I was there part time last semester (10 hours a week) and I am there full-time this summer. I generally help my advisor with whatever he needs done, read the literature, and I am teaching myself AutoCAD, LabView, and C programming on the side. However, from the sounds of it, I will be getting a project soon.

    I am learning a lot though.
  6. May 31, 2007 #5


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    I am currently reading papers and teaching myself LabVIEW.

    My full project involves quantum dots and is still not really been specified to me. Tomorrow I have a conference with my adviser and I think he's planning on shedding some of the light there.

    I'm currently doing a lot labVIEW in preparation for my actual project. Eventually I'll be able to give more info I hope! I am having fun though, and learning, and getting paid while I'm at it, AND getting some nice resume fodder! I'm definitely happy I did this and I haven't even started my main project yet, so I think it was a good decision to apply.
    Last edited: May 31, 2007
  7. Jun 1, 2007 #6
    yeah, the greatest thing about the REUs is you are getting paid to learn new things, whereas at a company in industry, you are paid to do grunt work that the engineers don't want to do.

    I am learning a good amount of new things, and soon I will have a project. This lab is rather large and multidisciplinary, but my advisor (and this is what I am learning about) is working on growing aluminum nitride crystals by plasma source molecular beam epitaxy. So, I am learning a lot about ultra high vacuum equipment, all the different characterization methods used for thin film crystals, some crystallography that I didn't learn in my solid state physics coursework, molecular beam epitaxy and many other things. It has definitely been a worthwhile experience even if I haven't had a project yet, but from what the PI has said I will be getting a project soon.

    I am always putting out possible ideas that I get out of the literature, but usually there's some problem, or we don't have the equipment set up to do it. So, if I did a project I would first need to set up the equipment or modify it. to carry out my experiment. This will probably require some machine shop work.
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2007
  8. Jun 1, 2007 #7
    Just be glad you guys are in an REU, I can't wait to start my job that pays $6.50/hr...
  9. Jun 1, 2007 #8
    Hey at least you found a job! And yes, be very thankful that you got positions in REU programs. I probably won't get admitted into graduate school because I haven't had one yet and I am applying next semester. >.<
  10. Jun 1, 2007 #9
    Please, you will still get accepted to a grad school, you just might have to slightly lower your standards. At the school I attend ("ranked" in the 80s for grad math) only one grad student that I know of attended an REU.

    The REU I am attending does not start for a few more weeks.
  11. Jun 1, 2007 #10
    I'm currently at a math REU.

    Here is some advice for people applying to REU's in the future:
    Make sure you have some kind of clue where you will be staying! This is a big deal. I'm from a huge diverse city and I am currently in a small town with nearly no diversity, 5% minority population. I did not think about this before I applied. There is nearly nothing to do, especially since I am not 21 yet.
  12. Jun 1, 2007 #11


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    Today was my first day at my Physics REU and I have been blow away by all the amazing instruments and such at my [our] disposal.
    I have a lot of acronyms to learn (PECPD, AFP, STEM, something something, ....).
    Something that amused me was that pressures on the order of E-4 torr are refered to as "high pressure" since a lot of the experiments we will be doing will need very high vacuums on the order of E-6 and E-7 torr.

    I have not started doing anything yet, just had a tour of the different labs, but my first impression is that I am going to have a great time.
  13. Jun 1, 2007 #12
    Let me second this. I did an REU at large public university in small town where without a car I couldn't even get to a grocery store. Not that being 21 stopped anyone in the dorms where I was staying from drinking, but that was most of what was going on.
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