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Is it possible for a freshman to find a summer REU program?

  1. Dec 10, 2008 #1
    I'm not actually a freshman. I'm a sophomore. But I didn't start doing physics until this year and fell in love with it and decided to declare it as my major. But I'm wondering is if it would be possible for me to find a summer REU program with only 2 semesters of physics? By this summer I'll only have had an intro course in mechanics and relativity and an intro E&M course. With that background is there any way that I could get accepted to an REU program? Even if I do get accepted to a program I feel like I'll be kind of intimidated by it. What kind of research could I really do with only a year of physics? Would it even be worth my time to try and do one this summer or should I just wait until I've had another year of physics? Does anybody know of any specific programs that would be open to taking people like me?
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 10, 2008 #2
    Count me as being very interested in this as well. What level do you need to be at to get a decent REU?
  4. Dec 10, 2008 #3
    Yes, I was a freshman doing Aerospace Engineering and did my REU at the McDonald Observatory during the summer between my first and second years. It's located like in the middle of nowhere, Texas (Fort Davis).

    Next summer I was in Socal for Aerospace Corp. Most people would think Socal would be>>> that place, but no. Both were amazing in their own ways.
  5. Dec 10, 2008 #4


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    I did a math REU last summer as a freshman, but I had already taken the first semester of undergrad analysis and two semesters of linear algebra (first semester with matrices second semester abstract) plus about 5-6 other "past Calculus" math classes. With only the freshman physics classes, it will be hard to make yourself stand out enough to get in. Freshman overall are pretty rare finds in REUs.
  6. Dec 12, 2008 #5
    You were a freshman yet had taken nearly enough Math classes that would be required for a major in Math, huh?
  7. Dec 12, 2008 #6


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    There are plenty of sophomores around the country already in graduate classes.
  8. Dec 13, 2008 #7


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    I'd suggest just reading the application descriptions carefully. If they specify a certain year or coursework background to be eligible, then adhere to that. If they don't, then it can't hurt to try. Maybe there aren't many freshmen in them because not a lot of freshmen apply. They might be impressed with the initiative so early on. Or, maybe you won't get one this year, but when you apply again next year, they'll remember you were the eager freshman whose name they saw before and will consider your enthusiasm favorably.
  9. Dec 13, 2008 #8


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    I suggest looking into the University of Pittsburgh's REU Program. I am not sure if they got funding for this upcoming summer, but if they did you should apply.

    They focus on freshman and sophomores, with the hope that they can get the students to come back for a second summer. I was in that program for two summers and enjoyed it very much. They have a lot of cool research projects and a very friendly department.
  10. Dec 13, 2008 #9
    Currently i am a freshman too, and i am also applying for REU in Math for the upcoming summer in two places: Williams Colleges, and BYU. I hope i will manage to get in. HOwever, by that time i would have already taken the following courses:El. functions, Stat 1,Calc 1,2,3, Differential Equations,Linear Algebra, Abstract Algebra.
  11. Dec 13, 2008 #10


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    The REU I did last summer was at BYU. Two of the topics only require basic geometry and some knowledge of vector fields. They changed the third topic from mathematical physics and symmetry of PDEs to minimal surfaces, which is probably for the best since I certainly wasn't prepared to have QFT thrown at me. One thing though, they withhold part of your stipend until you've written a paper that they think is worth submitting to a journal. It's December, and I'm still working on my paper. :/

    Honestly, if you get in, area minimization is probably the group to be in. Dr. Lawlor is great and the method he created to solve these problems is really ingenious.

    Also, Osaka and India Palace are the two best restaurants in Provo.
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