1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

REU in experiment physics vs taking summer classes

  1. Apr 12, 2012 #1
    For this summer I have a chance to do a REU at my university that deals with Rubidium vapor. This is a experimental project but I want to go into theoretical physics. However I wouldn't mind doing this because I would learn about atomic physics and it would look good for grad school I believe to do a REU as a freshmen. However if I take this REU I won't be able to take any classes over the summer which will mean I'll need to take programming next summer. I have no programming experience. Do you think i should take Python this summer over applying for the REU. Obviously if I don't get in I'll just take classes over the summer but.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 13, 2012 #2
    One- is there a reason you need to take a class on Python and not just download a copy and check out one of the numerous "Python for Beginners" tutorials that are linked to on the Python webpage?

    Two - what you do research-wise as an undergraduate does not mandate you must pursue it for the remainder of your professional life. Unless you really like it, of course.

    Three - I'm guessing there are lasers involved in the research. How can you not be enthused about getting to fiddle around with lasers and call it work? :smile:
  4. Apr 13, 2012 #3
    Easy, do the REU! Teach yourself the programming if you have time or if it's pressing.
  5. Apr 13, 2012 #4
    Yeah, if you are choosing between a REU and a course in python, definitely do the REU! Programming is important to learn, but research experience will be much more valuable to you, both personally and professionally (i.e. it will look good on your resume / grad school application, etc.). Programming shouldn't be hard to pick up on your own.

    And this:

    In terms of theoretical vs. experimental, don't worry about that yet. I spent a summer playing with lasers doing some experimental research, and now I'm doing computational chemistry, both as an undergraduate. You'll have plenty of time to be more specific later.
  6. Apr 14, 2012 #5


    User Avatar

    You can learn Python on your own in a month. You won't be an expert but you will be able to write medium size programs. You can't say that about the research
    Take the REU
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook