RSPS 2019 Introduction

Dear Participants:

Welcome to the 38th annual Rochester Symposium for Physics Students (RSPS).  The RSPS was instituted to provide an opportunity for undergraduates to present an account of their own personal research at a meeting whose format was chosen to closely resemble those of professional scientific societies.

At these symposia, research projects are presented in talks or poster sessions by undergraduates representing many regional institutions.  Topics include condensed-matter physics, atomic physics and optics, computational physics, astronomy, particle and nuclear physics, instrumentation and techniques, environmental physics, biological physics, medical physics, and educational physics.  The abstracts of all the participants' papers are published annually in the RSPS proceedings and distributed to the participants. The information is also available on line at

Students who present these talks can list their RSPS presentation(s) on their resumes and show the above web page in their list of publications as an "On-line Published Abstract".  We encourage students to follow up on their research with the aim of giving a presentation at a regular APS meeting (which now also has a special session on undergraduate research), and eventually follow up with a publication in a regular journal, or in the APS Journal of Undergraduate Research.
At Rochester, the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the Institute of Optics are jointly running two National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) sites.  We encourage you to apply to one of these summer programs.  Examples of research projects, talks, publications and awards won by our REU participants can be found on our REU Web page:

Your audience will include both students and faculty members and will provide you with the opportunity to address a knowledgeable and appreciative assembly of fellow researchers.  Scientific research is an extraordinary activity.  We certainly hope that many of you will decide to pursue careers that involve you intimately in mankind's greatest intellectual adventure, to comprehend nature.  To quote Albert Einstein, “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.

Frank Wolfs (Chair RSPS)

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of Rochester