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Non-academic (Defense) Research

  1. Dec 23, 2008 #1
    Hello All!

    I'm a third-year physics student attending a private university here in the States and am currently applying to summer research programs. While I have applied to the traditional SULI and DAAD RISE (German Exchange) programs, I'm also interested in defense research at programs such as the http://www.ida.org/careers/graduatestudents.php" [Broken].

    I've done two summers of "research" (although they weren't very productive--my first summer was with a lab that was going through the grant-writing frenzy consuming everybody and my second summer was setting up an undergraduate-run research lab) and I admit that they probably did not hold much experience. In fact, they weren't very "physics-y"--the first lab was microfluidics and the second lab was synthetic biology. I was curious as to whether graduate schools welcome defense research or dismiss it as irrelevant. I feel a bit as if this is my last chance to set up a good bit of research (I'm taking the grad-course route to an honors BA as opposed to the thesis route) and would like to know some opinions, especially those of you who are on admissions committees or have gone through similar experiences.

    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2008 #2


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    Why would defence research be "dismissed as irrelevant?" The only issue that might arise is that your work could end up classified and hence not publishible in contrast to work done in an academic institution. A similar situation might occur for work done for a private company. I wouldn't be too concerned about that at an undergraduate level though as publications for a undergrad are very rare. What's usually the most important with such work are the skills you pick up, and the references you get.
  4. Dec 23, 2008 #3
    I apologize for being vague. I meant defense research more in terms of intelligence analysis, especially in terms of scientific/technological strategies as opposed to actual labwork.
  5. Dec 24, 2008 #4
    I know a mechanical engineer graduated high in his class from Dartmouth has an amazing paying job, but spends his days designing radio mounts for canadian military hummers, or finding the strongest alloy for lug nuts, stuff like that.
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