Welcome to URCA!

A summer program funded by the National Science Foundation

URCA is an integrated 10-week summer program designed to introduce students to computational physics through original research projects in the field of high-energy astrophysics. Applications include supernovae and supernova remnants, interacting binary stars and accreting compact objects, gamma-ray bursts, accretion disks, stellar winds and jets, r-process nucleosynthesis, and neutrino astrophysics. The computational tools taught to and applied by the students include hydrodynamic and magnetohydrodynamic simulations, nuclear reaction networks, Monte-Carlo methods, spectral synthesis codes, and various data analysis techniques applied to both simulation and observational data.

Participants will spend the summer in an immersive environment that includes not only a faculty-mentored research project, but extensive training in all aspects of independent research through classroom instruction, hands-on training exercises, small group discussions, and activities with other summer programs on campus. The program ends with students giving a research talk to fellow physics students and faculty and presenting a poster at a campus-wide Undergraduate Research Symposium.

Are You a Potential URCA Student?

The URCA program targets undergraduate students who might not have research experience. Our intent is to provide a unique, comprehensive introduction to computational physics for undergraduate students early in their careers.

Prospective students...

  • DON'T need advanced physics courses.
  • DO need to have completed one year of calculus-based physics courses.

  • DON'T need computing experience.
  • DO need to be excited about learning how to use computers in research.

  • DON'T need previous classes in astronomy.
  • DO need to have looked up at the night sky and wondered what is out there.

How to Become an URCA Student.

The URCA application process opens January 1, with application review and participant selection beginning March 1 and continuing until the program is filled. Application materials and details of the process are described on the Application Page. URCA especially welcomes applications from women and under-represented minorities.

Summer research programs are an excellent opportunity for students to experience the challenges and rewards of scientific research. We will provide you a high-intensity, demanding but supportive environment in which you can immerse yourself in a project alongside other highly motivated students. Come prepared to work hard, to be excited, to learn, and to join a small group of students like yourself as you develop some of the skills and knowledge to do cutting-edge science. If you are heading to URCA or any other summer research program, you should read the article by Elisabeth Pain, "Making Your Research Internship a Good One."

For further information contact the URCA program director, Prof. John Blondin.
Email: John_Blondin@NCSU.edu