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Maryland Researchers Show Hands-On Research Can be Cutting Edge AND Inexpensive

In late July, Physics Professor Rajarshi Roy, Math Professor Brian Hunt, and three Maryland graduate students (Adam Cohen, Bhargava Ravoori and Shelby Wilson) will head for Cameroon and the University of Buea (Buea is the provincial capital of the South West Region of Cameroon). They're expanding Maryland's Global Community by taking part in an international "table top research" program on the frontiers of science. The goal is to help graduate students and young faculty in developing nations conduct scientific research without using expensive equipment.

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In late July, Physics Professor Rajarshi Roy, Math Professor Brian Hunt, and three Maryland graduate students (Adam Cohen, Bhargava Ravoori and Shelby Wilson) will head for Cameroon and the University of Buea (Buea is the provincial capital of the South West Region of Cameroon). They're expanding Maryland's Global Community by taking part in an international "table top research" program on the frontiers of science. The goal is to help graduate students and young faculty in developing nations conduct scientific research without using expensive equipment.

Professor Roy - who also directs the Institute for Physical Science and Technology at Maryland - is one of the founders of the Hands-On Research School program. He says the emphasis here is on conducting modern physical, chemical, and biological research - inexpensively. "Each day for two weeks, small groups of 4-5 participants and two instructors work closely together. The close interactions lead to subsequent exchange visits and scientific collaborations." Roy adds, "The 50 or so participants are able to introduce new tools and demonstrations into the classroom and teaching laboratories, and to use these new tools in their own research. Thus the Hands-On Schools foster the development of scientific leaders in less developed countries."

Officially called the "Hands-On Research in Complex Systems Schools," the August 2-13 program is sponsored by the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy (in association with the Italian Government and the United Nations), and brings some 100 faculty and graduate students from around the world to be part of the two week initiative. Previous research programs have been held in Brazil and India.

Math Professor Brian Hunt will be going on his first trip with the program, and says that beyond the adventure of it all, he looks forward to the program as a real learning experience. "I hope the participants are able to learn as much from me as I am from them," he says. Hunt is an expert in Matlab - a high level computer language and interactive platform that's been used by Maryland math students for a decade - and he'll be bringing that experience to Cameroon as well. "The material will form the basis for what we'll be doing," he says. But adds it will have a different focus because of the hands-on approach to cutting edge research.

Source: University of Maryland