UW-Madison REU Program

The Astronomy Department and the Astrophysics group of the Physics Department will host a Research Experiences for Undergraduates program in Astronomy and Astrophysics for several students for the ten weeks from May 31st to August 6th, 2021. Applications received by Feb 15th will receive full consideration. By agreement among NSF supported REU Astronomy programs, notification of acceptance will be no earlier than March 1st. Click here for application information.

Key Dates for the summer-of-2022 program:

  • Application webpage opens: around November 1st, 2021 -- currently open
  • Application deadline (incl. reference letters): February 15th, 2022
  • Acceptance notification: No earlier than March 1st, 2022
  • First day of program: May 30th 2022
  • Last day of program: August 5th, 2022

Important notes on COVID-19: 

  • Given the ungoing uncertainty due to Covid-19, these dates are subject to change, and (for now) should be taken as a general guideline only!
  • At this time we are planning to hold our REU program if at all possible. At this point we are planning on a return to an in-person program. However, depending on the state of the pandemic during the next summer we may have to return to a virtual-only program. While this means some projects would not be feasible (e.g. projects involving developing instrumentation or lab-based work), we demonstrated in both summers of 2020 and 2021 that this is nevertheless an productive method of gaining research experience. Feel free to contact the REU director or possible mentors if you are uncertain about whether a project would be possible in this virtual-only setting.


About the program

Participants will work in Madison with researchers in the Astronomy Department and the Astrophysics group of the Physics Department. Projects may include work in the following areas:

  • astrophysical detectors
  • data analysis in cosmology
  • X-ray astrophysics
  • neutrino astrophysics
  • neutron stars, white dwarfs, and black holes
  • observational stellar astronomy
  • star formation
  • observational interstellar medium
  • extragalactic astronomy
  • theoretical work in galactic dynamics
  • theoretical neutrino astrophysics
  • theoretical work in the chemistry and dynamics of interstellar matter
  • astro-chemistry
  • formation and nature of protoplanetary disks

Facilities include the 3.5m WIYN optical telescope, the 11m SALT telescope, and the Northern Extended Millimeter Array; some projects may involve observing with or working with data from these facilities. Participants will not be able to visit our large South Polar neutrino detector (Amanda/IceCube), but can work with its observations. Students can also work with data from Antarctic balloon-based cosmic microwave background experiments, rocket-borne X-ray detectors, Spitzer infrared observations of the Galactic plane, and the Wisconsin H-alpha Mapper. The program includes a directed research project, an engaging weekly lecture series, organized weekend field trips, and other less structured social events - perhaps Summerfest in Milwaukee. Students will also be encouraged to participate in the successful (and fun!) NSF/Wisconsin outreach program Universe in the Park (pending state of the COVID-19 pandemic during the summer of 2022).

Our REU program includes a stipend and food allowance of $6,800, as well as reasonable travel expenses to/from Madison. Students will be housed with those participating in other summer research programs. They will be invited to participate in several interdisciplinary programs including discussions on scientific ethics, and a university-wide welcome and orientation. They will have access to library and campus recreational facilities, such as sailing on Lake Mendota.

Currently, participants must be citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.  We highly value diversity among our participants; women, members of under-represented minorities, and students from small colleges are all encouraged to apply. We expect to accept 8-10 students for the 2022 REU cohort, depending on funding availability.

For further information, please email us at reu@astro.wisc.edu 

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1004881, AST-1560016, and AST-1852136. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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