REU/RET Site: Penn State REU and RET in Interdisciplinary Materials Physics

Project: Research project

Project Details


NON-TECHNICAL PART: It is clear that the traditional disciplinary boundaries between chemistry, physics, and engineering are becoming blurred as modern research requires the expertise of multiple disciplines and collaborative research to be successful. This Research Experience for Undergraduates and Teachers in Interdisciplinary Materials Physics is jointly hosted by the Physics Department and the Center for Nanoscale Science (a DMR Materials Research Science and Engineering Center) at Penn State. It will engage a highly diverse group of 17 undergraduate students and 6 teachers each year in hands-on mentored research within the fields of materials physics and interdisciplinary materials. Students and teachers will learn and apply cutting-edge scientific techniques and experience the challenges and rewards of working in a collaborative, interdisciplinary research environment. They will learn and practice important skills for conveying science and its discoveries through professional development activities that include scientific seminars, professional networking events, and outreach activities. Outside the lab, the Site will expose students to the excitement of interdisciplinary research through facilities tours, research seminars, and networking events. Teachers will gain material science knowledge and transfer their experiences back to their students, influencing them and their communities through the development of teaching resources with their peers and Penn State faculty. Students will be inspired to pursue careers in science and engineering, subsequently increasing representation in science from underrepresented groups, including minorities and women.

TECHNICAL PART: Interdisciplinary Materials Physics is a broad range of research topics spanning from the design, creation, and characterization of novel materials to the theoretical understanding of atomic interactions within materials. Students will participate in a 10 week mentored research experience in condensed matter and materials physics or in interdisciplinary nano-materials conducted in labs within Penn State's Physics Department or the cross-disciplinary cohort of labs participating in the Center for Nanoscale Science. Research topics will span studies in complex materials, thin films, superconductivity, semi-conductors, magnetism, and novel properties of nanoscale structures. To complement their research training, students will engage in professional development focusing on the benefits of interdisciplinary science and on communicating science to both professional and public audiences. The culmination of their research experiences will be to present their work at a cross-disciplinary undergraduate research symposium at Penn State.

Effective start/end date5/1/154/30/20


  • National Science Foundation: $450,000.00


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