Summer Undergraduate Research

Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE)

The Institute for Shock Physics provides an opportunity for talented undergraduate students who want to participate in a 9-week, multidisciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) studying “Materials under Extreme Conditions” in the summer.

Students will undertake state-of-the-art research projects and attend seminars, including seminars presented by senior scientists from DOE national laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories).

In addition to participating in exciting research projects, there will also be opportunities to interact with other students, take part in the abundant outdoor activities available in the region, and explore the scenic Palouse.

Program Goals

The SURE program goal is to provide undergraduate students in Physical Sciences and Engineering the opportunity to perform hands-on experiments in a world class research organization. Students will have the opportunity to undertake experimental investigations of condensed matter phenomena at extreme conditions.

Using state-of-the-art equipment and diagnostics, material response is examined at different length scales in real time during shock wave and static high-pressure experiments. Understanding condensed matter response at conditions relevant to dynamic loading (shock wave or shockless compression) and static high pressure has been central to advances in fundamental science and modern technology.

Dynamic loading experiments (shock wave and shockless compression) subject materials to unique conditions (very large compressions, high temperatures, and large deformations) on very short time scales (picosecond to microsecond) resulting in a rich array of physical and chemical changes. Materials behave differently depending on pressure and temperature as well as the rates of compression and deformation. To gain insights into detailed material behavior and transformations, ISP researchers take a synergistic approach involving theory and computations, static and dynamic experiments utilizing high pressure-temperature, continuum measurements, laser spectroscopy, and x-ray capabilities at the ISP and unique national facilities, such as third-generation synchrotron x-ray sources.

Financial Support

• $5,000 stipend for the 9-week session
• Free housing on campus
• Travel assistance for travel to and from Pullman, WA (up to $500)

How to Apply

To complete your application, please send the following items to

• Completed application form.
• One letter of recommendation from a faculty member at your college or university who can account for your academic and research abilities, experience, and potential.
• Unofficial transcript in PDF form.

Who is Eligible

Participants must be currently enrolled at a four-year institution and have achieved either sophomore or junior standing in Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science, or Mechanical Engineering. In addition, students must be U.S. citizens of have U.S. permanent residency status.


Preference will be given to sophomores and juniors who plan to pursue graduate studies. Review of applications will begin immediately. Upon notification of award, acceptance of award must be within two weeks.

Contact us

If you have any questions about the program or the application process, please contact:

Sheila Heyns
Senior Manager for Administration & Operations
(509) 335-5345