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Washington State University Institute for Shock Physics

Undergraduate Research

ISP Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) 2016: Materials Under Extreme Conditions

The SURE 2016 program is on hold at the present time.

The Institute for Shock Physics will provide an unparalleled opportunity for talented undergraduate students who want to participate in a 9-week, multidisciplinary Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) “Materials under Extreme Conditions” in the summer of 2015.  The application period for SURE 2015 has closed.  Information regarding the 2016 SURE program will be forthcoming.

Program Goals

The SURE program goal is to provide undergraduate students in the 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.


Projects will be tailored to the students’ area of interest within the fields of Physical Sciences and Engineering.  Click on here for more information about the possible research areas.  Additionally, click on the SURE Faculty link for information about each of the faculty members leading research projects.

Who is Eligible

Participants must be currently registered at a four year college and have achieved either sophomore or junior standing in physics, chemistry, mechanical engineering, or materials science.  In addition, students must be U.S. citizens or have U.S. permanent residency status.

What You Do

Students will undertake state-of-the-art research projects, attend seminars, including seminars presented by senior scientists from DOE national laboratories (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories), give a presentation and create a poster reflecting their work for a presentation/poster session to be held at the end of the program.

Financial Support

  • $5,000 stipend for the 9-week session (2016 dates to be determined)
  • Free housing on campus
  • Travel assistance for travel to and from Pullman, WA (up to $500)

How to Apply

Application time period:  The 2015 SURE application period has closed, and as such we are no longer accepting applications.  Please check back soon for more details regarding the 2016 SURE program.

To complete your application, please send the following items to:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Two letters of recommendation from faculty members at your college or university who can account for your academic and research abilities, experience, and potential.
  3. Unofficial transcript in PDF form.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about the undergraduate research programs or the application process, please contact:

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