Research Experience for Undergraduates

The Physics & Astronomy Department has created a ten-week Undergraduate Summer Research program, open only to UCLA students in the Physics & Astronomy Department, to be held June 13-August 19, 2022. Please download and fill out the application here. The application deadline is March 18, 2022. Faculty will define a number of available research projects.

In addition to the printed application, you are asked to provide:

  • A one-page statement about yourself and your academic and research goals, your motivations, and your interest in doing physics/astronomy research. You can also optionally provide reasons for your research preferences.
  • Your unofficial transcript.
  • A resume/CV that includes coursework, lab skills, and coding proficiencies.
  • A letter of recommendation (sent separately to from faculty.
Place all these documents including the application form in a folder and compress them in a single zip file.

Programs for 2022

Faculty: Wes Campbell

Project: Design and construction of a sun tracker that maximally couples sunlight into a single mode optical fiber as the earth spins, delivering that light onto a trapped ion in the lab.

Faculty: Tuan Do

Project: Machine learning in astronomy - our group seeks to use machine learning methods to allow for novel ways of examining and analyzing astronomical data. The scale and complexity of astronomical data are growing exponentially, so it is important that our tools and methods grow as well to enable new discoveries. Our group studies both how machine learning is being used in astronomy and applies machine learning methods to challenging astronomical problems. Potential research projects include machine learning in extragalactic astronomy, image recognition and processing, and the study of stars around the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.

Faculty: R. Michael Rich

Project: Identification of high redshift galaxies in Keck spectroscopy with KCWI. The work is in collaboration with an international team led by Michael Rich and Emanuele Daddi (CEA Saclay, Paris, France).

Subject: We have observed 9 galaxy groups and clusters at 2 < z < 3.3 with Keck Cosmic Web Imager (KCWI), providing spectroscopy and imaging over a small part of the sky. The project will use these data to identify redshift of galaxies contained in these fields. A fraction of the galaxies will be groups/cluster star-forming members, and will be important to characterize the cluster galaxy population and star formation activities. The KCWI data have already been reduced and are ready for the data analysis.


  • Ddefine galaxy samples for continuum extraction, using the KCWI images and external imaging datasets (software: SExtractor, python)
  • Optimally extract spectra (and estimate noise) using the imaging kernel shapes (software: python, galfit)
  • Measure redshift by cross correlation with templates and identification of absorption/emission lines (software: python)
  • If time permits, search for line emission in the cubes other than at the position of continuum sources (software: python)

Faculty: Katsushi Arisaka

Project: We are investigating the physics principle of our visual perception of the external 3D space in the frequency-time domain. The student is expected to combine the visual stimulation by a Virtual Reality headset with brain wave detection by an EEG headset and eye motion tracking by a high-speed camera. Then we will measure the reaction time for various stimulations.

Nuclear Physics
Faculty: Huan Z. Huang/Gang Wang

Project: Study of Heavy Quark Interaction with QCD Matter: QCD partonic matter at extremely high temperature and energy density has been created in Au+Au collisions at Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). We will study heavy quark (Charm and Bottom) interactions with the QCD matter in central Au+Au collisions. Heavy quarks are produced mostly through the gluon-gluon fusion process during the initial impact of the colliding nuclei. After the initial production heavy quarks may scatter off partons in the QCD matter and suffer energy losses while traversing the QCD matter via gluon radiation or elastic scattering. We will investigate experimentally signatures of these heavy quark interactions with the QCD matter.

Forthcoming projects TBA

Pietro Musumeci

Troy Carter

Stuart Brown

Questions? Contact the Undergraduate office: Françoise Queval, Student Affairs Officer, 1-707A PAB, 310-825-2453.

Previous REU programs: