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Outstanding Undergraduate Physics Research Award


The Department of Physics has established an endowment to award an annual prize for the most outstanding research project done by an undergraduate physics major at UVa. The winner will receive a prize normally of at least $375 and have his/her name placed on a plaque prominently and permanently displayed in the physics library.

The guidelines for the award are the following:

  1. It is expected that the student will be registered during at least one semester in one of the research courses of the physics department (usually PHYS 3995). This is not a requirement.
  2. The written report submitted for the prize will be similar (or identical) to that submitted for the course.
  3. Research performed in residence at UVa will be given preference over research performed elsewhere, for example during the summer.
  4. Research performed under the direction of a UVa physics professor will normally be given preference over that done under the direction of an outside professor.

The purpose of the prize is not to provide research expenses, but rather the winner may use the monetary prize for any purpose of his/her choosing. The award will be presented during the May graduation ceremony. The winner does not have to be a graduating 4th year, but may be at any point in his/her academic study.

A committee will review the written reports submitted by students wishing to enter the competition. Being registered in PHYS 3995 does not automatically mean you will be considered for the prize. There is no formal requirement for length or content of the report. However, it should be a substantial report discussing the research objectives, what was done, accomplishments and results, and a discussion of the physics involved. Good target audiences for the report are other physics majors or a group of non-specialist faculty members.

In order to be eligible to be considered for the prize, an electronic copy of the written report, in pdf form, must be submitted to Professor Stephen Thornton by 5 pm on the first Monday of May.