Why: An internship is the best way to learn physics (this, coming from a professor who loves books). The truth is, nothing can compete with real experience.
What: You get to do real science with world-class equipment. Internship work is often published and often pays fairly well.
Where: You can do an internship at a federally funded national laboratory such as Los Alamos or at a corporation such as Raytheon. The web allows you to apply to internships all over the country with unprecedented convenience.
When: Start hunting for summer internships in the fall. The application process isn't bad but it can stretch out a bit as you gather your materials and decide what you are looking for. You can also do local internships for credit or pay during the semester on a part-time basis. You can even take a semester off and spend it in the lab.
How: Point and click. The sites below have downloadable applications. Fill them out and send them off. The hard part is deciding where you want to go and what sort of work you want to do.
Research at a DOE funded national
The department of energy will place you at one of 12 national labs. You'll have some say in where you get placed and who you work with. You can get information about who is doing what kind of research at each lab and contact the scientists directly.
sponsored by the National Science Foundation.
The NSF sponsors a program called Research Experiences for Undergraduates(REU). Universities all over the country get money from the NSF to bring in undergraduates for a summer of research. Each university brings in about 10 REU students for the summer and many universities participate. You have to contact the universities individually for information and applications. The NSF site devoted to this program wasn't working as of 12/18/98 but the individual universities have their own sites. The link above gives you over 700 sites that mention "research experience for undergraduates". Have fun.
Last Modified: March 31, 2005