Undergraduate students physics research earns trip to international conference

Blacksburg, Va. -- Beth Reid, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech with majors in physics and mathematics, will represent the United States at an international conference of student researchers in Denmark after receiving the Society of Physics Students (SPS) Outstanding Student Award for Undergraduate Research.

Only two students will represent the United States at the International Conference of Physics Students (ICPS) in Odense, Denmark, August 7-13. Reid will present the research that resulted in her receiving the SPS honor.

Reid's research was done with a group working with Virginia Tech physics faculty member Uwe C. Tuber. "Our group (condensed matter theory) tries to build theoretical understanding of systems 'out of equilibrium,' Reid said. "One example is life, which is maintained by a constant energy flux through the system. My project's focus was to use computer simulations to study anomalous diffusion (how particles move through unordinary media) and is related to the study of percolation. The computer simulations allowed us to test a specific theory of how the particles should behave and discover that theory's limits." Reid's main contributions were writing and performing the simulations, doing detailed data analysis and interpretation, and developing an intermediary model to explain the group's results.

Tuber said Reid is "definitely among the very best students I have ever met during my career at the Technical University of Munich, Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and here at Virginia Tech." Her "remarkable academic achievements" led to her receipt of numerous scholarships and to being named the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Senior 2003. She also received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and a rare National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

According to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship web page, "NSF Fellows are expected to contribute significantly to research, teachin

Contact: Sally Harris
Virginia Tech

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