Senior Physics major, Connor Williams, used his VURF travel grant to present research at the American Physical Society Conference.
On his experience:
The November American Physical Society Conference was truly a formative experience. It was beneficial not simply because it afforded me the opportunity to present the research that I conducted this summer, but it allowed me to see first hand the important intricacies of science that my professors had so often talked about in class.
In my electrodynamics lab, Dr. David Chuss often talks about the importance of scrutinizing our data; he encourages us to quantitatively find out to what degree our results can be trusted. At the APS conference, I was able to see that his sentiments are not just true for in-class purposes (getting good grades on lab reports), but that in the international scientific community, without proper assessments on collected data, one cannot state conclusively whether a true physical phenomenon has been observed and rationalized, or if the data is littered with statistical noise.
I was also able to see how very tailored our undergraduate labs are, and that finding data as reliable as the data acquired in class, is almost impossible to achieve on projects the magnitude of those on display at the conference. The APS conference was truly a wonderful experience. It was a weekend that stimulated my mind intellectually, and allowed me to bond with other aspiring physicists from across the atlantic coast.
I would like to thank CRF for funding our travel and lodging. Opportunities such as attending conferences would be more difficult without the support of CRF, both financially and emotionally.