In 2017, the National Science Foundation approved a proposal to run an REU site inthe Virginia Tech physics department focus on neutrino physics. At Virginia Tech, the physics faculty is engaged in a broad spectrum of research areas with focus on neutrino physics, including electron/neutrino scattering experiments, the search for sterile neutrinos, phenomenology studies, long baseline optimization for DUNE and the study of neutrino spectrum from nuclear reactors and supernovae neutrino experiments and theory. In this rich intellectual environment, the REU students will have the opportunity to pursue independent and productive activities, guided by an established team of faculty members together with young assistant professors and postdocs. In addition to experiencing the excitement of front-line research, the students will develop the essential skills of a successful scientist, such as critical self-evaluation and self-assessment. The Center for Neutrino Physics faculties will mentor the students carefully, with special emphasis on their communication and dissemination skills. Our program will provide them with the realistic aspects of research at graduate schools and beyond, such as the design and running of experiments, the acquisition and analysis of data, the development and testing ofcomputer codes, the learning of appropriate mathematical/analytic techniques, the formulation of theoretical ideas, as well as the preparation of results for publications and presentations.
Nature of Research Activities
The goals of the CNP undergraduate research experiences are to:
- Educate students in modern research and laboratory techniques
- Give students a clear idea of their options for future research
- Increase the number of students from underrepresented group
- Motivate students toward a career in science
- Provide exposure to scientific research to students who will go into other fields (e.g.teaching)
- Improve student knowledge and sharpen skills in written and oral communication
- Promote neutrinos in undergraduate research programs, and
- Provide research-mentoring experience to post-docs and graduate students.
We seek to accomplish the first five goals by including the students in potentially publishableresearch projects. We will emphasize to students that their work and results are important and can influence the research activities and direction of their mentors. This will be a crucial point of our program: students that are involved in real research projects, will become familiar with the challenges that scientists face on a daily basis, the methods that they use to address and overcome these challenges and the intense joy and satisfaction that results from making a discovery or simply making something work.