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Wayne State welcomes undergraduates from around the US for physics research experience

DETROIT On June 6, professors in Wayne State University's Department of Physics kicked off WSU's only National Science Foundation-funded (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program. This program aims to give undergraduates an opportunity to do cutting-edge research in astrophysics, and in particle and nuclear physics.

According to Alexey Petrov, Ph.D., professor of physics in Wayne State's College of Liberal of Arts, principal investigator and program director of the grant, the student participants will work with faculty mentors on research projects at WSU or at a premier national lab, Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, IL.

"Students will participate in weekly seminars, workshops and field trips," said Petrov. "They are given the opportunity to experience a real-life research environment and contribute to ongoing research projects led by the faculty in Wayne State's Department of Physics and Astronomy."

This NSF-funded program was renewed last year and is in its 14th year at WSU. It provides funding for 10 students from universities throughout the United States to participate.

"The REU started as a local program, mainly drawing students from Wayne State, but it now receives students from as far as Arizona, Alabama and Florida," said Petrov. "In the past, students from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Duke and many other premier U.S. universities came to Detroit in the summer to work with Wayne State's physics and astronomy faculty to tackle problems in theoretical and experimental particle and nuclear physics, and in astrophysics. Local Wayne State students are active participants in this nationally competitive program as well."

"The REU program in Wayne State's Department of Physics and Astronomy is a great example of how a research experience can provide undergraduate students with higher quality, hands-on and meaningful educational experiences that broaden their knowledge base," said Joseph Dunbar, Ph.D., associate vice president for research at Wayne State. "REU programs such as the one in our Department of Physics, give students excellent learning opportunities through access to leading-edge knowledge and methods, and critical thinking skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation of quality of information. In addition, it prepares students to be competitive in a knowledge-based economy, provides a foundation for further education and places learning in a context that connects theory in the classroom with practice."

Petrov and David Cinabro, Ph.D., professor of physics and co-director, co-lead this program. Senior personnel include WSU physics and astronomy professors Giovanni Bonvicini, Edward Cackett, Sean Gavin, Robert Harr, Abhijit Majumder, Gil Paz, Claude Pruneau and Joern Putschke. For more information, visit the program's website at

The NSF grant number for this project, "REU Site: Research Experience for Undergraduates in Astrophysics, Nuclear and Particle Physics," is PHY-1156651. The three-year grant totals $213,812.


Contact: Julie O'Connor
Wayne State University - Office of the Vice President for Research

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