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Summer Scholars Program 2010

About the Program

The Geophysical Laboratory and the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, a nonprofit scientific research institution located in Washington DC, have been leaders in earth science research and education since their founding. The goal of our summer internship program is to provide eligible undergraduate students with a participatory introduction to scientific research. Fundamental investigations in the geosciences (experimental petrology, mineralogy, mineral physics, seismology), planetary sciences and astronomy, and related chemical sciences (inorganic and organic geochemistry, cosmochemistry) are pursued. During a ten-week summer program, undergraduate students will conduct an individual research project with guidance from a GL or DTM staff member. Throughout the summer, students will also tour other DC area research facilities and participate in a weekly seminar program. The summer program starts in early June 2010 and ends in mid-August 2010. This program has been funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation's "Research Experiences for Undergraduates" program, by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research ASSURE Program, and by the Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Research Topics

The following are examples of the types of research projects students might pursue: experimental petrology (diamond formation, solubility of silicates in aqueous fluids, phase equilibria of hydrous minerals); mineralogy (petrologic studies of significant rock-forming minerals, X-ray diffraction studies of phase transitions in minerals); seismology (global and regional studies, mantle anisotropy, earthquake rupture processes); planetary geology (the interior of Mars, volcanism and tectonics on Mars); astronomy (formation of star- and planet-forming disks, star formation in the Milky Way); mineral physics (high-pressure materials science, planetary gases, pressure-induced amorphization, crystallization, chemical bonding and electronic transitions, including computational physics); biogeochemistry (isotope studies of climate change, paleo-oceanographic conditions, and prehistoric human behavior, the behavior of organic compounds at high temperature and pressure, astrobiology); geochemistry (magma chamber processes, isotopic studies of mantle evolution or crustal genesis, formation of ancient volcanic rocks); cosmochemistry (meteoritics, presolar stellar grains); analytical chemistry (secondary ion and plasma mass spectrometry).

For additional information on research conducted by students at GL and DTM, see our web sites: and


Undergraduate students pursuing a degree in geoscience, physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, astronomy or a related field, who are considering scientific research as a potential career, are encouraged to apply. To be eligible to participate in the program, students must have completed at least 30 semester-hour credits by the start of the summer program, and be either citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Graduating seniors are not eligible to apply. The Carnegie Institution of Washington is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

There is a stipend for ten-week program.

In addition to the stipend, housing is provided. All interns will be housed in dormitories at American University, about 1.5 miles from the Broad Branch Campus where both GL and DTM are located. Our campus can easily be reached from AU using D.C.'s METRO bus system. Participants will also receive support toward travel expenses to Washington DC and back again at the conclusion of the program.

Applications will be accepted in early 2010.