Friday, November 30, 2012

Research Experience for Undergraduates: East Coast Edition

Following up on our previous post of West Coast Research Education opportunities for Undergraduates (REUs), we have combed through a wealth of East Coast REUs for those who don’t care to venture all the way out west. Below you will find a few standout positions, but if you want to take the reins and do some further job-hunting, we recommend

Savannah State University
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The Bridge to Research in Marine Sciences is a hands-on research opportunity for undergraduates hosted by Savannah State University in Georgia. It is open to all students majoring Marine Biology, Oceanography, Marine Biochemistry, and similar fields. The Bridge Program runs through the summer of 2013 and compensates interns with a $4,000.00 stipend and up to $500.00 in travel expenses. The application can be found by following the link above. The deadline to submit required paperwork is March 1st, 2013.

Penn State Campus
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Sponsored by the Pennsylvania State University Chemistry Department, this REU in the summer of 2013 is funded by the National Science Foundation with priority given to students of underrepresented backgrounds. The program is geared towards undergraduate students majoring in chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, etc. Student researchers will receive a stipend of $4,800.00, free housing on the Penn. State campus, and reimbursements for travel expenses. Applications are due by February 21st, 2013.

Harvard Campus
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Sponsored by the Smithsonian Astrophysical Laboratory at Harvard, the SEO Summer Intern Program provides students majoring in astronomy, physics, astrophysics, etc. the opportunity for mentored research in planetary science and astronomy. The 10-week program runs through the summer of 2013, although compensation and housing is dependent on future funding. The application is due February 1st, 2013.

University of Florida Campus
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The Whitney Laboratory for Marine Bioscience REU is also funded by a National Science Foundation grant at the University of Florida. The program is geared towards marine biology majors, etc., and provides a project-based opportunity for scientific research in marine ecology in the summer of 2013. As with the other National Science Foundation programs, the position is intended for students from underrepresented backgrounds. Compensation could not be determined in the initial review, but more information can be found by following the link above. The due date for all materials is February 15th, 2013.

College of William & Mary Campus
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The College of William & Mary Physics Department in Virginia is currently offering undergraduate students completing their junior year the opportunity to do research in applied physics over the summer of 2013. There is a $5,000.00 stipend, free housing in the dormitories and healthcare courtesy of the college of the duration of the program. Applications are due by February 1st, 2013. 

This Week's Sci-lights

Sci-Curious is excited to announce that you are currently reading our first ever edition of This Week’s Sci-lights, a comprehensive bank of all that’s new and uniquely titillating in the realm of science.

This week, the news is endowed with a universal appeal, as the Mars Curiosity Rover, MESSENGER Spacecraft and Hobby-Eberly Telescope are all set to make earth-shattering announcements!

Mars Curiosity Rover
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For those who don’t know, the Mars Curiosity Rover is a joint project between NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with the goal of creating the most technologically advanced rolling chemistry set in the history of mankind. Its goal is simple: sample the Martian soil for evidence of water, organic compounds, and other essential elements. The news as of yet is completely under wraps, but with the fanfare that is being generated, it is liable to be a major insight, at least to the science community. Rest assured we will keep you updated with any information that comes our way, but if you are interested in minute by minute coverage, an article on the subject can be found here.

CGI of MESSENGER orbiter
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A lesser-known NASA expedition, aptly named MESSENGER, involves an unmanned orbiter around the planet Mercury. Again, NASA is keeping tight-lipped on the matter, but when they are this clandestine about a discovery, it is usually of enough magnitude to make the headlines. All we know so far is that the MESSENGER spacecraft had the mission of studying the geochemistry on the grey planet, so evidence of any kind of biological announcement is unlikely, but the alternative is equally exciting.

EDIT: It appears that during the writing of this article, NASA verified that MESSENGER has found evidence of water on Mercury! This is a groundbreaking development that could lead to more frequent expeditions to the planet. Further details to follow.

Last but not least, the University of Texas researchers behind the Hobby-Eberly Telescope appear to have discovered the universe’s largest known black hole in a galaxy simply named NGC1227. It is estimated to be 17 billion times larger in mass than our sun, and may help scientists understand how gravity behaves with the elements in such an extreme environment. One of the discoverers, Remco van den Bosch, explains the ramifications of this announcement in detail in this video.

Antarctic lake
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Oh, and by special request, there is one 
last piece of news to mention, which is much closer to home, if you’ll please forgive this thematic departure.  In the never-ending search for life, scientists have found microorganisms subsisting beneath the frozen glaciers of Antarctica, which emphasizes the harsh climates that microbes can withstand. This was just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which stated that the microorganisms survived on the byproducts of a chemical reaction between salty water and iron molecules in the deep, lightless environment beneath a frozen Antarctic lake. Those interested can learn more here.