Summer research internships can be a great opportunity for learning and doing physics, giving you a chance to:
- Get a flavor for doing research - studying a problem that's not been worked on before - which is quite different from the bulk of your academic experience of working problems during the semester. This can give you an idea if science research is a direction you'd like to pursue after Whitman - either in graduate school or as a researcher at a company or in an academic/government lab.
- Meet students from other institutions.
- Get to know another part of the planet.
- Get paid - many internships pay fairly well.
Internships in physics are available both at Whitman and elsewhere.
- For internships at Whitman, get to know professors, learn about their research, and inquire with them about the possibility of a project. Funding for a Whitman internship could come from a couple different sources:
- Lab grants - if a professor has a research grant, those grants usually include funding for summer interns
- Perry Awards - Whitman sponsored awards in which student/professor pairs write a competitive proposals, usually due in February
- Physics Department - the department itself can fund a few students each summer for internships
- For internships outside of Whitman there are several different places to look. Applications are usually due early in the calendar year (i.e. Jan-Feb).
- Relatively large internship programs funded by government agencies, including:
- Programs run by national labs, for example:
- Los Alamos
- Internship programs run by specific academic institutions. Some examples from searching the web:
- A good overall listing of internships in physics is at the APS
- Internships in industry. Several students have been successful in recent years in getting internships at companies - usually via personal contacts. Ask around and see what's available.