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Gaining Invaluable Experience in awesome Ann Arbor

I have been participating in a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program at the University of Michigan since May. As the name suggests, the program gives opportunity for undergraduates from across the country to participate in a research work going on at the physics department at the University of Michigan.

I am involved in a research at an atomic physics lab, which is searching for an electric dipole moment (eEDM) in electrons using polar molecules such as tungsten carbide. The ongoing research has a big importance in the physics world. There have been a lot of theoretical predictions of eEDM and finding eEDM experimentally gives us a new idea about the symmetry of the universe. With that ultimate goal in mind, we are now studying the properties of a supersonic gas jet of tungsten atoms seeded with meta-stable noble gases and also a beam of tungsten-carbide molecules.

Ann Arbor has been providing me great hospitality. It is a college-town with a lot of things to do. Even though this is a summer time with maybe 10% of the total students present, there are a lot of interesting things going on. I visited Ann Arbor Street Art Fair last week. The festival is an annual event with about a half million people coming here to see top quality artwork by the finest artists.

In addition to the research work, I also got an opportunity to attend the Michigan Quantum Summer School, a two-week long conference on quantum information science and precision measurement experiments. I found myself lucky to be able to attend talks given by famous atomic physicists. When I worked at Prof. Martin Madsen’s lab at Wabash last summer, I read many papers on quantum computing, and this year I was able to go to the lectures given by the same authors. During the conference, I met Eric Cornell (2001 Physics Nobel Prize Laureate) from University of Colorado, Boulder who came to visit our lab. I also presented a poster on the work I am doing during the conference. One more historic thing I learned about the conference was that, Michigan provided a good location for the development of quantum mechanics in 1930s and 1940s by running quantum summer schools and, with the same spirit, they revived the concept of Michigan Quantum Summer School from this year after about 50 years.

Rabin Paudel '10

Pictures:
1)  My research group   
2)  UM REU students in front of FermiLab