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Summer School for Undergraduates


Programs dates for summer 2024 will be announced in early 2024.

From June 26–30, 2023, the Center for Matter at Atomic Pressures (CMAP), a National Science Foundation Physics Frontiers Center, at the University of Rochester held an intensive week-long residential summer program, the Discovery Science Center Summer School for Matter at Extreme Conditions in the Laboratory and the Cosmos, for undergraduate students who are eager to learn more about the physics of extreme states of matter.

Over the course of a week, undergraduates from US colleges and universities will have the opportunity to:

  • Get immersed in the science of extreme pressure and high-energy-density physics.
  • Use python to understand recent discoveries in astrophysics, planetary science, and quantum materials.
  • Access modern computational, educational, and research tools and techniques that can be leveraged across disciplines.
  • Learn from—and network with—CMAP’s leading physicists, astrophysicists, and planetary scientists.

Apply Now

Costs & Eligibility

There is no cost to apply or to participate in the program. Roundtrip US domestic travel to Rochester, New York, is covered for accepted, non-local students. Students living locally may commute from home. Housing in an on-campus residence hall and meals will be provided for accepted students. Budgeting some spending money for personal expenses for the week is recommended.

To be eligible for this program, students must be currently enrolled as a part- or full-time undergraduate student in an accredited US college or university during the program dates. Students are not eligible if they graduated this spring.

Students interested in research and/or considering an advanced degree, members of under-represented minorities and students from colleges that lack comparable research are strongly encouraged to apply.

Program Schedule

The program took place June 26–30, 2023. The first three days of the program are lecture-based, followed by two days of hands-on learning through workshop activities. There will be daily homework assignments. Some evening social and/or professional development activities are anticipated.

Check back regularly for updated details.

Day 1: Welcome to CMAP
  • Opening remarks: An introduction to matter under extreme conditions
  • Morning: Tools to Analyze and Model Scientific Discoveries
  • Guest lecturer: Dr. Sally June Tracy, Carnegie Institution for Science – “Exploring the crystal structure and melting behavior of planetary materials with dynamic compression experiments”
  • Afternoon: Introduction to Python and Jupyter Notebook
Day 2: Collisions in Extreme Environments
  • Morning: Hydrodynamics
  • Guest lecturer: Dr. Adam Frank, University of Rochester – “Evaporating A Planet. How To Kill An Atmosphere.”
  • Afternoon: Hydrodynamics
Day 3: Dense Fluids
  • Morning: Conservation Laws and Magnetohydrodynamics
  • Guest lecturer: Dr. Chris Marshall, University of Rochester – “Neutrinos”
  • Afternoon: Conservation Laws and Magnetohydrodynamics
Day 4: Workshop – Ram that Jet!
  • Morning: Ram that Jet!
  • Guest lecturer: Dr. Jon Eggert, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory – “Dynamic Compression Experiments: Replicating Planetary Interior States in the Laboratory”
  • Afternoon: Ram that Jet! continued
Day 5: Workshop – Build that Planet!
  • Morning: Build that Planet!
  • Guest lecturer: Dr. Eva Zurek, University at Buffalo – “Exotic Chemistry and New States of Matter at Extreme Pressures”
  • Afternoon: Build that Planet! continued

How to Apply

The application period is now closed. It will re-open in early spring 2024.

Application and recommendation letters deadline: Saturday, April 8, 2023.

In addition to basic information, the online application form requires:

  • A description of your research interests and previous research experience(s) (300 words or less)
    • Submit in the text field via the online application
  • A personal statement about why you’d like to participate in this program (300 words or less)
    • Submit in the text field via the online application
  • A copy of your resume or CV
    • Acceptable file formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg, .docx, or .doc
    • File name format should be “LastName-FirstName-Resume” or “LastName-FirstName-CV”
  • A copy of your most recent transcript (unofficial version is acceptable)
    • Acceptable file formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg, .docx, or .doc
    • File name format should be “LastName-FirstName-Transcript”
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Recommenders should upload their letters to the CMAP Summer School Box folder
    • Acceptable file formats: .pdf, .png, .jpg, .docx, or .doc
    • File name format should be “StudentLastName-StudentFirstName-Recommendation-RecommenderLastName”


Contact Adriana Cabiedes Garza, CMAP business administrator, at or (585) 276-4967.

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