Our MPhys students in the Physics Department at Surrey all go off for a year–long research placement as part of their undergraduate master’s programme. They join research groups and get actively involved in the ongoing research projects. It is very much not an experience of “this is what research is like” but rather “this is research – and you are doing it”.
The students often produce results leading to research publications, and yesterday I received notification that the work of one of our (now-ex-)MPhys students has just been published in Physical Review C, with our student as first author. The work is on the nucleus of an isotope of silicon, and on how a series of experiments that the student performed in collaboration with his placement hosts, and others, led to a determination of the shape of the isotope (it’s a squashed sphere, a bit like the Earth). Our student, Tom, is now studying for a PhD in a different are of physics, but I bet he is the only one of his peers with a first-author paper in nuclear physics already in his CV. Well done, Tom!
The paper is here: Effect of ground-state deformation on isoscalar giant resonances in 28Si