When a person learns physics, does their entropy increase or decrease?
DATES: May 26 - July 30, 2010
Note: in the past, arrangements have been made to allow students on the quarter system to fully participate by shifting their stay to somewhat later dates.
STIPEND: Students receive a $3000 stipend
HOUSING: Students are provided on-campus housing
TRAVEL: Some funds may be available to pay for travel to and from Urbana, IL
WHO: Students not currently enrolled in the University of Illinois
CALENDAR: View the calendar of REU events
Please apply online and submit 1 reference, 1 statement of purpose and mail in your official transcript to our REU coordinator. If you have any logistical questions, please contact our REU Coordinator, Toni Pitts.
We offer research projects in all research areas listed below. In most cases, the details of the projects for summer 2010 have not yet been finalized, but you are invited to examine past REU projects as well as the currect research of the faculty at the links listed below in order to get an idea of the research possibilities.
Applications for 2010 are now closed
The Dark Energy Survey (DES) will map 1/4 of the southern sky to measure the properties of dark matter and dark energy. These mysterious entities comprise about 96% of the energy in the universe, but their properties are poorly known. We will study them by observing the galaxies, quasars, and supernovas that have existed over the past nine billion years (2/3 of the time since the big bang).
The DES involves the construction of a 500 megapixel digital camera for a 4-meter telescope in Chile. It also involves the development of improved data analysis techniques. Work on the data acquisition hardware and software and work on algorithm development for science analysis (for example, measuring cosmological parameters with supernovas) are both suitable projects.
Here are two web sites:
DES web site at Fermilab: https://www.darkenergysurvey.org/
The LSST web site (http://www.lsst.org/lsst) I also participate in LSST, a logger term, more ambitious project with similar science goals as DES.
A fast and affordable method for sequencing human genomes is one of the most anticipated technological advances (http://genomics.xprize.org/). An interdisciplinary group of researchers at the University of Illinois is developing a nanopore electric circuit for deciphering the sequence of a DNA molecule by recognizing its electrostatic fingerprint. Through a set of computational experiments, the feasibility of this approach to decipher the sequence of a DNA double helix will be determined. In particular, this project aims to determine the relationship between the sequence of a DNA double helix and the electrostatic potential it induces in a nanopore capacitor
Qualifications: Background in soft matter or biological physics. Solid programming skills and familiarity with a unix-type operating system. Previous experience in computational physics, chemistry or related discipline is desirable.
Nearly one third of our genes are devoted to coding for membrane-bound proteins that not only allow the cell to take in nutrients and expel waste but are also responsible for many essential functions such as energy generation, immune response, and osmotic pressure regulation. Because of the difficulty of studying them in their native environment, i.e. lipid membranes, much less information is available on the structures and functions of membrane proteins than on their water-soluble kin.
This project will investigate the feasibility of using protein-containing lipid vesicles to embed a membrane and associated protein within a silicon nanopore scaffold, providing both structural support and means for direct manipulation of the protein by nanoscale electronics. Through molecular dynamics simulations, we will determine the optimum conditions for forming a high-resistance seal of a lipid membrane within a solid-state support structure.
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