NSF Undergraduate Research Experience in Physics

Uploaded by KState on 04.09.2012

bjbj Daryl McPadden>> The program here is great. The faculty are amazing and the program
really focuses both on your physics education and also your outside education. They re so
much more than just the physics research here. Kristan Corwin>> The physics department at
Kansas State University has had an REU program running almost continuously since 1992. We
bring students in from across the country often times from small schools where they
don t have research opportunities at home to do research at an R1 university, a real
research-oriented university. Daryl McPadden>> This is my first research experience. Kristan
Corwin>> These students, they get involved in research in many areas. We have laser research,
atoms and molecules, some students are working with nanoparticles, synthesizing them and
studying their behavior in electric fields, some work with proteins and use atomic-force
microscopes, others are involved in physics education research and trying to learn how
people learn physics. Daryl McPadden>> My project is testing whether there is an interference
affect between what students are learning in the classroom and how they answer certain
questions. So in physics we have these things call vectors, which have a magnitude and a
direction and things called scalars which just have a magnitude so you can say I m going
25 miles an hour which is just a scalar number or you could say I m going 25 miles an hour
west which then gives you a direction so that s more of a vector. So I was looking at how
students answer vector questions when they re learning about scalar ideas, if there s
any sort of conflict. We actually found that there wasn t any sort of interference affect
and so then my project morphed into rewriting all of these test questions. It s been great.
It s been a lot more independent than I thought it was so it s been really fun being able
to investigate all of these different ideas. Kristan Corwin>> Students who get involved
in summer research are more likely to stay in physics and they re more likely to feel
like they belong in physics. It helps them to figure out whether research is really right
for them or not and that s very important to them going forward. Daryl McPadden>> I
have learned so much through this REU. In particular about physics education research.
I ve learned a lot about the theories behind learning. I ve also learned a lot more about
grad school and applications and what they re looking for and just a lot more about the
system that I will be applying through for grad school. Kristan Corwin>> If you re thinking
about coming to K-State for a physics REU, you should definitely apply. Our students
have a lot of fun. We do canoe trips. We do picnics. We do dinners at faculty homes. We
really try to help these students create a network in addition to the world-class research
and outstanding laboratory facilities that they ll have access to. I think it s a wonderful
opportunity for any physics student and I encourage them to participate. [Content_Types].xml
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