REU in Physics at Howard University

Prabhakar Misra, Tristan Hubsch, Demetrius Venable, Silvina Gatica, Kimani Stancil, Belay Demoz, Gregory Jenkins

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The NSF-funded REU summer program in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Howard University provided cutting-edge research opportunities in Computational Nanophysics, Experimental Nanophysics, Laser Spectroscopy, Atmospheric Physics and Superstring Theory to six undergraduate students recruited from across the U.S. The REU students were engaged in challenging research projects under the supervision of seasoned mentors across a variety of stimulating physics sub-disciplines that included: (1) computation-intensive surface nanophysics of condensed phase systems focused on the adsorption of gases in Metal-Organic Frameworks (MOFs); (2) experimental measurements using light scattering techniques on gels and polymers in the condensed phase; (3) experimental laser spectroscopy with special emphasis on Raman spectral measurements on tungsten oxide nanolayer deposited on a silicon substrate; (4) observation-based and modeling-intensive atmospheric physics project for developing better understanding of wind lidar performance under various aerosol/cloud loading and relative humidity scenarios in the U.S. and regional ozone and aerosols modeling and analysis of data recorded in West Africa; and (5) a cross-disciplinary project involving quantum theory, supersymmetry, graph theory, encryption, and super-commutative algebra and algebraic geometry with applications to string theory. Each student learned a multitude of relevant techniques related to their research projects, with the vision of teaching and nurturing knowledge, both theoretical and experimental, that will be useful throughout their academic careers both in their major discipline and in interdisciplinary research as a whole. Raman Spectroscopy, 3D Physics Modeling, Monte Carlo Simulations, Algebraic Geometry and Graph Theory are some of the techniques that the students learned that illustrate the importance of physics research in general and have wide-ranging applications in interdisciplinary studies. In addition, the students participated in field trips to the University of Maryland (visit coinciding with NanoDay), Georgetown University (cleanroom tour and research presentations), NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (visit coinciding with Science Jamboree Day), and Smithsonian Museums (coinciding with evening fireworks viewing on the Mall on July 4). The REU students gave midterm and final research presentations and submitted a research paper in refereed journal format at the end of their internship. A comprehensive assessment of the REU program was conducted by an independent project evaluator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationUndergraduate Research in Materials Science - Impacts and Benefits
EditorsD. F. Bahr
PublisherMaterials Research Society
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781510806351
StatePublished - 2015
Event2014 MRS Fall Meeting - Boston, United States
Duration: Nov 30 2014Dec 5 2014

Publication series

NameMaterials Research Society Symposium Proceedings
ISSN (Print)0272-9172


Other2014 MRS Fall Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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