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Physics Interested in undergraduate research at other university

  1. May 28, 2016 #1
    I'm currently a second year undergrad (third once summer ends) majoring in applied physics. Currently I'm doing research at my university about muon beam cooling. However, even though this topic is interesting, I'm mainly interested in the cooling and trapping of anti-particles which is a subject that no one at my university is studying (closest I could come is the research I'm doing now). I've found other professors at other universities whom are researching exactly what I want to pursue in my physics career, but they're at different universities. My question is if I wanted to eventually work under these professors and be apart of their research projects, what should I do? I know I'm definitely applying to their universities graduate programs and REU's if they're offering, but is there anything I could do now like email them questions about their research? Also I'm worried that when I do apply for graduate school/REU's, my research interests stated in my personal statement won't line up with my research experience, is this a valid concern?

  2. jcsd
  3. May 28, 2016 #2
    You may consider e-mailing them before REU applications are due (maybe over winter break?) and asking if they are taking REU students or if there is some other way you could work with them.

    Also, very often for REUs your research interests don't line up with your research experience. That's sort of the point of an REU - to give you research experience that you can't get at your current university. I believe that students who can't get any research experience at their current institution somewhat take precedence, but I was able to do an REU in biophysics because I was interested in it and no one at my school did biophysics research, and my experience was in a completely different subfield.

    So in your personal statement, it may be wise to take the format "I have done X and it has gotten me interested in Y but I do not have the opportunity to do research in Y, so this REU would be a great opportunity".

    Someone please correct me here if I'm wrong, but this will likely be different for graduate school. Your graduate school application is not the time to switch to a completely different side of physics... you want to say "I have done X and therefore am pursuing Y" instead of "I have done X but want to do Y, so I'm applying for Y". Again, depending on how closely your interests are to your current research, it may require some creativity.
  4. May 28, 2016 #3
    Ok thanks for the advice. For the personal statement, I've always known what my main research interest was, but just took this other research opportunity so I at least have some research experience, should I still say "I have done X and it has gotten me interested in Y but I do not have the opportunity to do research in Y, so this REU would be a great opportunity" even though its not true?
  5. May 29, 2016 #4


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    Have you tried taking electives that might help you achieve this goal? I don't see why e-mailing them would hurt. Send them an e-mail and see if they'd take you on or what they recommend that would prepare yourself to be a part of their team.... become they candidate they've been looking for.
  6. May 30, 2016 #5
    Thanks for the advice. Yes I do plan to take electives and grad courses to help achieve this goal.
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