[Previous] | [Session 19] | [Next]
J.M. Blondin (North Carolina State Univ.)
Computational physics can shorten the long road from freshman physics major to independent research by providing students with powerful tools to deal with the complexities of modern research problems. At North Carolina State University we have introduced dozens of students to astrophysics research using the tools of computational fluid dynamics. We have used several formats for working with students, including the traditional approach of one-on-one mentoring, a more group-oriented format in which several students work together on one or more related projects, and a novel attempt to involve an entire class in a coordinated semester research project. The advantages and disadvantages of these formats will be discussed at length, but the single most important influence has been peer support. Having students work in teams or learn the tools of research together but tackle different problems has led to more positive experiences than a lone student diving into solo research.
This work is supported by an NSF CAREER Award.