APS News

Undergraduates Participate in DNP Meeting

Undergraduate CEU participants at the DNP Meeting.
Undergraduate CEU participants at the DNP Meeting

A new program for undergraduate students debuted at the 1998 Fall meeting of the APS Division of Nuclear Physics (DNP) held in October in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Entitled "The Conference Experience for Undergraduates" (CEU), the program featured several activities designed to provide a "capstone" conference experience for undergraduate students in experimental and theoretical nuclear physics research. CEU students presented their research in two separate poster sessions, and met with members of the professional community to discuss research and graduate school opportunities.

A total of 59 students from 41 colleges and universities around the country and abroad attended, more than 25% of whom were women. Participants were selected on the basis of submitted research abstracts and statements of their individual contributions to the larger research effort. Travel and lodging awards were granted to many, funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

The CEU program included several activities intended to provide students with a broader conference experience. On one afternoon students attended a reception hosted by DNP Chair Stuart Freedman, where they met with several officers and members of the DNP community. Eric Norman of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory delivered a keynote address entitled "What's Hot In Nuclear Physics," summarizing topics of current research interest, such as nuclear astrophysics and cosmology, the Standard Model, solar neutrino experiments, searches for the quark gluon plasma, and studies of nucleon substructure.

Students also attended the evening DNP reception, followed by a special memorial presentation: "David Schramm: Celebration of a Life in Science." On Thursday and Friday, the University of North Carolina and Michigan State University, respectively, sponsored lunches for the students, during which they presented an overview of their graduate school programs. Also on the agenda was a talk by Harry Lipkin on the early days of the quark model, a tour of the Los Alamos laboratory grounds, and a visit to the Bradbury Science Museum in downtown Los Alamos.

According to Warren Rogers, associate professor of physics at Westmont College and the main organizer of the event, student response to the CEU experience was very positive, as was the reception they received from the larger DNP community. "They really enjoyed meeting each other and comparing their research experiences. I think many found it very inspiring and motivating to learn of the research being done by their peers around the country," he said. "They also enjoyed meeting members of the DNP community and discussing research and graduate school opportunities. Their energy and enthusiasm were somewhat contagious, and I think their presence was sincerely appreciated by the larger community."

Plans for the next CEU at the fall 1999 DNP meeting in Asilomar, CA, are already underway. The CEU home page, complete with a listing of student abstracts, the program of activities, and several photos can be found at http://physics.westmont.edu/ceu98/ceu98.html.



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