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Physics Outreach



UFTeach is designed to dramatically strengthen the recruitment and retention of middle and high school mathematics and science teachers, a critical workforce need in Florida and across the nation. The University of Florida will undertake an unprecedented effort in Florida to bolster science and mathematics educator development that will not only supply highly qualified new teachers but also support new teachers of these subjects through their induction years. This mission will be accomplished through new partnerships between the University of Florida’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and College of Education and several Florida school districts. UFTeach will use imaginative recruiting strategies to bring UF’s best and brightest into teaching.

UFTeach is an innovative initiative based on the successful UTeach model at the University of Texas at Austin. The program at UF is funded by the National Math and Science Initiative (NMSI). A grant of up to $2.4 million from NMSI for the replication of UTeach, along with the generosity of private donors, will allow UF to initiate and sustain UFTeach.



QuarkNet has ~50 centers in universities and laboratories participating in high-energy physics experiments. Initially, each center includes two mentor physicists and two high school physics teachers.

Goals for teachers include a deeper understanding of physics content, an appreciation for the machinery of modern science, an introduction to inquiry-based teaching as well as evolution in individual teaching to a more student-centered mode of instruction.

"Lead" teachers hold eight-week paid summer research appointments under the mentorship of the local center physicists. Teachers, with the help of local mentors, will take part in the construction and testing of detector components, create data sets and develop online experiments for students and help develop classroom detectors.

In succeeding academic years the teachers extend their research work to the classroom. They also work with the physicists to design a research-oriented institute for up to ten other area teachers who will the center in the second year. The center receives ongoing support in following years.

Though it used to be, UF is no longer a QuarkNet center.  However, Thomas Jordan is an official UF employee with the Physics department and is project coordinator of QuarkNet so UF is again an active center in the project.  Recently Thomas visited Buchholz High School to work with the physics teacher and install a cosmic ray detector for student use.

Summer Research Program Research Experiences for UndergraduatesSummer Research Program Research Experiences for Undergraduates


Since 1999, the department has run a 10-week summer research program for students who are contemplating a career in the physical sciences. Supported by the National Science Foundation and UF, the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program serves fifteen undergraduates per year, drawn to Gainesville from all over the country. Each participant carries out original research under the careful guidance of a physics faculty member. The program also offers professional-development workshops covering scientific communication skills and graduate school applications, seminars on active areas of physics research, and field trips to other scientific laboratories such as the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee. The summer ends on a high note with a symposium at which each student presents a talk on his/her project.

REU projects have spanned all research areas of the department, ranging from ultra-low temperature measurements to analysis of high-energy physics collider experiments. A significant fraction of the projects have led to scientific publications co-authored by REU participants. Where appropriate, REU students have also been encouraged to present their results at regional or national scientific meetings.

Every year, REU participants have reported enjoying a positive summer experience that reinforced their interest in a scientific career. The great majority of participants have subsequently gone on to graduate school in physics or a related field, thereby fulfilling a major goal of the REU program.

International Summer Research Program in  Gravitational-Wave Physics: Research Experiences for Undergraduates around the worldInternational Summer Research Program in
Gravitational-Wave Physics: Research Experiences for Undergraduates Around the World


With support from the National Science Foundation, and on behalf of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration, the University of Florida offers a 10-week International Research Experience for Undergraduates (IREU) program, which runs approximately from mid-May through mid-August.  All research is related to gravitational wave physics, with projects ranging from instrument design and data analysis, to theory.  Participating collaborations include ACIGA, GEO, LIGO, LISA, TAMA and Virgo.  Students will also take part in group activities including seminars on cutting-edge areas of physics, workshops focusing on graduate programs, exposure to career opportunities in the physical sciences, and the development of scientific communications skills.

This year, twelve participating students will conduct research in Physics Deparments abroad in five different countries.  Participating institutions include universities in Benevento, Cardiff, Glasgow, Hannover, Pisa and Rome, and an observatory (the NAOJ) in Tokyo.  Undergraduate participants will receive a $4,200 stipend, with an additional allowance for housing and travel to their host labotratory and to briefing and debriefing meetings in Gainesville.  Weekends during the program are left open for participants to explore the abundant attractions of their host environments.

Eligibility: IREU participants must be undergraduate students and must be citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States or its possessions.  We especially encourage applications from members of groups under-represented in science and engineering, and from students enrolled at institutions where research opportunities are limited. All places in the Summer 2008 program have been filled. We expect to begin accepting applications for Summer 2009 throughout this coming Fall.




Local Coordinator

Paul Avery

CHEPREO (Center for High Energy Physics Research, Education and Outreach) has established an unusually broad program involving physics education, high energy physics research, computing and international networking. The effort, based at Florida International University and supported by NSF (PHY-0312038), has partner institutions at University of Florida, Florida State University and Caltech.  UF provides physics and computing support for FIU physicists and students, and additionally offers computing resources for physicists and students at the Florida institutions participating in the CMS experiment at CERN.  One of CHEPREO’s long-term achievements has been the transformation of FIU’s undergraduate experience through modeling-based, guided-inquiry introductory physics classes, a fellowship program, and the establishment of the Physics Learning Center (PLC).

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