Toolkit For Success is a pre-college research and workshop immersion program for newly admitted underrepresented minority physics majors and transfer students. Established by UMD Department of Physics' Office of Student & Education Services, Toolkit aims to empower and prepare underrepresented students through research, academic & career development, and community prior to their first semester.
Toolkit Interns are paired with professors and/or graduate student mentors to conduct research on a variety of research areas. Interns work with their mentors throughout the duration of the program and may continue their research after the final day of the internship. Workshops are conducted by program coordinators and professionals within the physics community. Workshops include python lessons, understanding scientific journal articles, networking skills, exploring physics as a career, and much more.
Toolkit interns are prepared to feel confident in and out of the classroom. By the end of the program, students are able to talk to any professor, present at conferences, and become student leaders. This is a community building program. Interns meet their research mentor in the first week, hear from undergraduate organizations, and receive talks from faculty and staff. There are several opportunities to unwind and connect with each other during and after the program. Prior to their first semester Toolkit interns already develop significant relationships with professors, graduate students, and other undergraduates. This is the program to join to excel as a physics major!
Applications will open April 10th, 2023!
Quantum Mechanics of the Decay of Excitation
Mayank Gupta working with Graduate Student Gautam Nambiar
If you excite an atom to its first excited state, it will eventually decay to its ground state. For example, this is how sodium lamps work. Why does this happen? If the atom were isolated, it would just stay in its excited state and never decay. But in reality, the atom is coupled to what is called the "vacuum fluctuations of the rest of the universe" which is what ultimately causes it to decay. In this project, we will develop an understanding of this phenomenon by playing around with a much simpler toy model. To do this, we will start with the quantum mechanics of an atom coupled to one mode of the "environment". Then we will slowly increase the number of modes in the environment to mimic the real world better and better.
Topological States of Matter in Non-Interacting Electron Models
Shoshana Braier working with Professor Barkeshli
In this project, students will study topological properties of band structures in models of non-interacting electrons propagating in a crystal. The goal will be to first understand some basics of tight-binding Hamiltonians and how to calculate their band structures. Then the student will learn how to numerically compute certain topological invariants of bands, such as the Chern number. Eventually the goal will be to study in numerical simulations novel kinds of topological invariants that rely on the crystalline symmetry of the lattice and their consequences for properties of crystalline defects.
Network Science with Machine Learning
Waley Wang working with Graduate Student Amitava Banerjee
What can we learn about different networked systems around us by looking into their behavior over time? This question is a broad one that has diverse applications: mapping neuronal networks by looking into how neurons fire together, predicting weather better by understanding how temperatures and rainfall patterns at nearby cities affect each other, learning how do birds communicate while moving in a flock, and so on. A very general setting that encompasses all these scenarios is having time-series recordings from nodes of a network and reverse-engineering the network from those recordings. In this project, we will solve this problem with machine-learning-based tools that will be built with nonlinear dynamical systems.
Analysis of B+ → J/Ψ K+ decay kinematics with LHCb proton-proton collision data
Rafael Romero Mendez working with Professor Jawahery, Professor Franco Sevilla, and Graduate Student Emily Jiang
The LHCb experiment at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland has collected very large quantities of proton-proton collision data at center-of-mass energies between 7 and 13 TeV. LHCb focuses on flavor physics, the study of the transitions of the fundamental fermions (quarks and leptons) between their three generations. For these studies a key decay of B mesons is B+ → J/Ψ K+. This project will first reconstruct J/Ψ → μ+ μ- and B+ → J/Ψ K+ decays via fits to their corresponding invariant masses. Subsequently, the decay kinematics and the raw CP violation of the B+ meson decay will be studied in several background-subtracted kinematic variables.
Previous Projects include: