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 Alice in Wonderland


Welcome! “Alice in Wonderland” is an outreach program within the Department of Physics at UT. You won’t meet the Mad Hatter or a March Hare… but it will be almost as unusual! If you are a female high school student interested in physics, but not sure whether you would like it as a career, then this program is for you.


   Alice1Participants in the 2015 Alice in Wonderland Program













The Alice in Wonderland program is sponsored by the Advanced Atomic Design Group at UT, led by Professor Alex Demkov. The program is supported by the National Science Foundation (DMR-0606464). Its goal is to attract women to physics by getting high-school students involved in research over the summer before they make decisions about colleges. An Alice internship can cover the entire summer, but at the minimum should be at least one full month. Participants work in real research labs in the Departments of Physics or Chemical Engineering. In addition, a short course is offered at the start of the program in June. This informal course (no credit is given), taught by UT graduate students, covers subjects from computer modeling and quantum mechanics to scanning tunneling microscopy and thin film growth.

group labThe gender imbalance in physics is a pressing concern. Most people agree that there is a disproportionately low number of women, particularly at the senior faculty level. The importance of successful women scientists as role models for graduate students has been pointed out. However, it is possible that the remedies we implement at the college level may be too little, too late. The so-called “pipeline” starts well before college!

In Texas, in the first year of high school, the students take a general science course. The differentiation takes place the second year when students may elect chemistry or physics as a separate course of study. This observation led to creation of the Alice in Wonderland Summer Program for Girls. This summer program is an important part of the entire research project. The Alice program started in 2005 and there have been many high school students, graduate students, and professors involved. All of them have enjoyed the program, which will hopefully encourage more students to join and take a tour in the world of science.

 For more information, contact Professor Alex Demkov or visit the AIW website.


Intensive One-Year Master’s in Würzburg


The UT Physics Department has a partnership with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany.  Each summer, up to 10 students may travel to Germany to do research with a professor for UT Senior Lab (PHY 474) credit.  We will be adding a guide for students who travel to Wurzburg.


Read all about the city of Würzburg!



380N — Experimental Physics
390   — Research Course
3xx   — Physics course (386K suggested)
3xx   — Physics (or related) course


698A — Master’s Thesis
386N — Technical Seminar
3xx   — Physics course
3xx   — Mathematics, CAM, EE, or other technical course


698B  — Master’s Thesis
3xx    — Mathematics, CAM, EE, or other technical course

The six hours of technical supporting work can be transferred from the University of Würzburg.

Undergraduate Summer Senior Lab in Würzburg


The UT Physics Department has a partnership with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Wurzburg in Wurzburg, Germany.  Each summer, up to 10 students may travel to Germany to do research with a professor for UT Senior Lab (PHY 474) credit.  Below is a guide for students who travel to Wurzburg.




Germany Summer Senior Lab Guide - Part 1 (Pages 1-20)

Germany Summer Senior Lab Guide - Part 2 (Pages 21-46)



The Physics Circus

The Physics Circus is like a traveling science program for local K–12 schools and communities.

Please click on the link above or email circus@physics.utexas.edu for additional information and pictures. You may also contact Professor Austin Gleeson.


circus1   circus3circus7









The Minority Bridge Program

An initiative by the American Physical Society to award more Ph.Ds to underrepresented minority students including African-American, Native-American and Hispanic-American students. For more information about this program, please click on the link above.

Our current Minority Liason is Professor Herb Berk. If you'd like more information, please contact Professor Berk.


Saturday Physics Workshop

The Saturday Physics Workshop is a free workshop designed for high school Physics teachers and students. The Department of Physics sponsors this workshop to provide teachers and students with a broad perspective on topics of interest in the academic community. We hope this workshop will enrich the experience of students interested in Physics and provide resources and contacts to teachers. This event is offered every spring. Breakfast and lunch is provided. This year’s workshop will be held on Saturday, March 30, 2019 and is comprised of three lectures given by our faculty.

For more information, please contact Kelly McCoy at k.mccoy@austin.utexas.edu

This year's schedule: 

8:30-9:00AM – Breakfast 
“Why in the World is a Physicist Studying Germs” with Dr. Vernita Gordon 
Vernita Gordon grew up in Georgia and has been faculty at the University of Texas at Austin since 2010. Her undergraduate degree is a double major in physics and math from Vanderbilt, and her PhD in physics is from Harvard. She's trying to understand how physics matters for harmful bacterial infections, and how physics could be used to prevent or treat such infections. She lives in Austin with her husband and two children, both in an AISD elementary school. She enjoys hiking, singing, knitting, and building forts and doing crafts with her kids. 

“Gravitational Waves” with Dr. Aaron Zimmerman 
Dr. Aaron Zimmerman began his studies in at the University of New Mexico, continuing on at Caltech and then at the University of Toronto. He joined UT Austin this past fall as an assistant professor. Dr. Zimmerman studies black holes and other systems where gravitational forces are at their most intense. As a member of the international LIGO collaboration, he also analyzes gravitational waves, ripples in space and time which are detected on Earth by precision experiments. 

10:55AM – Break 

“The Sun and its Magnetism” with Dr. Anna Tenerani 
Anna Tenerani graduated in Physics at the University of Pisa (Italy), before continuing on for her graduate studies in Astrophysics at the University of Pierre et Marie Curie (France) where she began her research work in Space Physics. After accomplishing her Ph.D. back in 2012, Anna’s work brought her to the United States, first in California at the Caltech/Jet Propulsion Laboratory and at the University of California, Los Angeles, and next at UT Austin. 

Anna’s scientific interests lie in the physics of plasmas as they occur naturally in space. Plasma is the fourth state of matter, together with solid, liquid and gas: lightning and electric sparks are examples of matter in the plasma state that we find in our everyday experience; but also stars like our sun and its atmosphere’s outer layer, the so-called “solar corona”, the interplanetary and the interstellar medium are all made of plasma. Plasma physics is a very fascinating discipline addressing how electric and magnetic fields interact with charged particles. These interactions may give rise to spectacular and unique phenomena such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections: the latter can be harmful for both astronauts and satellites in orbit, but they are also at the origin of beautiful natural phenomena such as the aurorae (like northern lights) that can be seen from Earth. There is still a lot to understand about the origin of these phenomena from solar magnetic fields. One of the mysteries that scientists try to understand is how the solar corona can exist in the first place and why its temperature suddenly rises from “only” a few thousand, to more than a million degrees! The recently launched Parker Solar Probe will fly closer to our star than any previous spacecraft to help us answer these questions. 
12:00-1:00PM – Lunch 
1:00-2:00PM – Physics Circus Demonstrations