Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU)

This program gives undergraduates from schools around the country the opportunity to experience cutting-edge scientific research as part of an on-going experimental high-energy physics and astrophysics program.

Summer 2018

All positions for Summer 2018 have been filled. If you did not hear from us, we were unfortunately not able to accommodate you.

Program Overview

We will be operating a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) site at Nevis Labs again next summer. The REU program is supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF), with the goal of providing undergraduate students with the opportunity to participate in scientific research. Contingent upon NSF funding, we expect to be able to accommodate 10 students in the program.

During the REU program, each undergraduate student participant will join one of our ongoing experimental efforts in high energy particle physics (HEP) and astroparticle physics research. These areas of research seek to identify the most fundamental constituents of the universe around us, and to probe how these constituents interact.

During the first week of the REU program, a series of lectures and tutorials will be given by the Nevis faculty and scientific staff. The goal of these lectures will be to discuss with the students some of the concepts and topics of the Nevis research program, and to introduce some of the tools (detectors, software analysis techniques, etc.) used to perform physics experiments. Throughout the summer, a series of lectures and visits to experimental facilities will be provided, to introduce the students to on-going research topics in a wide variety of areas of physics.

Already during this first week of the program, students will begin research with a particular experimental group, with whom they will work the rest of the summer. After the introductory week, the main focus will be having the students do research. The student's research will be performed under the supervision of a faculty member, as well as other members of the research group. The supervisor will discuss with the student to identify a well-defined research project for the student, one that can be successfully accomplished during the time of the REU program by a sufficiently well-motivated undergraduate.

Time will be reserved during the final week for the students to write a scientific report summarizing their research project, and the progress they have made. In addition, each student will make a 30-minute oral presentation of their work to the other students and the Nevis scientific staff.

Research Groups

The experimental groups participating in the REU program at Nevis are involved in efforts to investigate the most pressing issues in HEP and astroparticle physics. These include studies of the recently discovered Higgs Boson, believed according to the Standard Model (SM) to be the source of mass, searches for new physics beyond the SM, searches for neutrino oscillations, searches for the mysterious dark matter that pervades the Universe, and investigations of the origins of the first organic molecules in the universe. In addition, there are groups working on state-of-the-art electronics and detector development.





Results from Previous Years

To learn about the past activities and results of the students in the REU program at Nevis Labs, look at the homepages for previous summers:

Nevis Labs

Nevis Labs is the high energy physics, nuclear physics, and astrophysics laboratory of the Physics Department of Columbia University. Nevis is located about 20 miles north of the Manhattan location of the campus of Columbia University.

Student Financial Support

The REU program will provide a stipend of $5800 to each student, which includes a travel allowance for domestic return-trip travel expenses. Free housing will also be provided, either in Columbia University student housing on campus in New York City, or at the respective laboratories. International travel expenses will be paid in cases where it is needed.


For Summer 2018, our REU program runs for 10 weeks, begininning Tuesday May 29 and ending on Friday August 3. These dates are fixed by the availability of campus housing, and cannot be changed. Students who are not available for this full range of dates will unfortunately not be able to participate in the program.


Government regulations concerning the NSF funding of the REU program require that students be US citizens or permanent residents. In addition, students must be either freshmen, sophomores, juniors, or non-graduating seniors during this current academic year; in other words, seniors who will have graduated before the beginning of the program are not eligible.

All participants must demonstrate that they have appropriate health insurance for the duration of the program.


No previous research experience is required. Students should have enthusiasm for experimental physics research. It is desirable, but not required, for applicants to have skills related to experimental physics, such as computer expertise (especially with C++ and/or python), mechanical aptitude, and/or electronics experience.


To apply for the REU program at Nevis Labs, Columbia University, the following is required:

1. Applicants must fill out completely the online application form.

2. Applicants must identify one faculty member or other individual who knows them well and who can attest to their aptitude and enthusiasm for research. The applicant must ask this person to write a reference letter on their behalf and submit it directly, preferably in pdf format, via e-mail to this address.

Any questions about the program or application process can be submitted via email to this address. However, applications must be submitted by completing the online application form.

Nevis Labs, and the NSF, are committed to the encouragement of women and minorities to participate in scientific research. We strongly encourage women and minority applicants to the REU program at Nevis. We also strongly encourage applications from students of undergraduate-only institutions.

The information required to complete the application form includes the following:

Please note that transcripts are neither required nor considered, so do not submit them or any other material apart from what is requested in the online application form.

Application Deadline

Application forms and reference letters must be received by Friday February 2, 2018 to be considered.

Acceptance decisions will be made shortly after the deadline. Successful applicants will be notified via email at that time.

The Physics REU sites directors will utilize a common deadline of March 2, 2018, for students to accept or decline first round offers at domestic (non-international) sites. Sites may send offers to students at any time before this, but students will not be required to decide before March 2. Because of necessary organizational lead time, international REU sites may require earlier acceptance dates.

We regret that, due to the number of applications received, we will be sending email notices only to those who are selected to participate in the REU program. Once all positions have been filled, we will post a message indicating this information at the top of this WWW page.

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