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Undergrad Research

  1. Aug 9, 2012 #1
    Hi guys,

    I really want to engage in some undergrad research this year but I have some queries.

    1. If I wanted to apply for the summer what is the ideal date to ask the professor or set up a meeting? After Christmas Break when I get results back?

    2. My Uni does mostly work in Solid State Physics. If I were to apply to Grad School for Fluid Mechanics or another area of condensed matter, and had done research in the area of Solid State physics, would this hurt my chances or should I count my blessings that I got research at all.. :redface:

    3. Fluid Mechanics seems interesting but the Physics Dept. at my uni doesn't do any research in the field but the Engineering Dept. does A LOT of work in the field. How would grad schools look upon research done in the Engineering Dept. or do they even care as long there's something done?

    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 9, 2012 #2
    1. After Christmas Break is probably a good idea, especially if you got to know a prof during fall term.

    2. Any research is valuable. Solid-State is directly applicable to condensed matter. To be honest, you're not going to be advancing the state-of-the-art whatever you do, you're just learning what research is.

    3. Some of the best Fluid Mechanics research is done in Engineering Depts. It ABSOLUTELY won't hurt that it was done. If the project was good, the project was good.
     
  4. Aug 9, 2012 #3
    1. I'd say before Christmas or right after that would be ideal. Supposing you're in first year, it would certainly be nice to have some university grades, as high school grades tend to mean very little. (Unless you have something fancy, say a medal in a national or international contest.)
    Also, be realistic. If you email a big name professor or a guy heavily theoretical, you will likely get no respond at all because tonnes of qualified people will volunteer to work for them, or they simply don't need someone at your level.
    Junior faculty tend to need more people to help set things up and they tend to be more interested in taking undergraduates.

    2. Solid State is a very large "sub"-sub-field of Condensed Matter, so I don't think you would have to worry at all about it. (and plus it's interesting!)

    3. As long as you don't something completely off like working for a bank or McDonalds, then research experience is in always helpful.
    Also, I don't think "fluid mechanics" itself is a very large sub-field in terms of Physics. It's certainly central to many engineering applications and things like atmospheric or geophysics, but in that case you would most likely be just doing coding to fit data.
    The other end would be doing the Maths of the equations, which in that case you probably wouldn't be able to do anything meaningful until you take a good deal of analysis and PDEs.
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2012
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