Given the situation surrounding COVID-19, we have decided to postpone the NS3 summer school at Michigan State University. Applicants to the school will receive further information by email. The application process has been closed

May 17-22, 2020, Michigan State University

NS3 is a summer school for undergraduate students that aims to introduce the participants to the field of nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics. NS3 will be hosted by Michigan State University (MSU) and will offer lectures and hands-on activities covering selected nuclear science topics. The school activities will take place at the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB) & National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory (NSCL) and will include lectures by local and visiting researchers, nuclear physics labs, a tour of the facility, discussions with graduate students and faculty, and more.

Nuclear Science and nuclear astrophysics are exciting fields that address important questions such as:

  • How where the nuclei we find on earth created?
  • How do nuclei interact with each other and undergo reactions that fuel stars and provide us with energy?
  • What are the forces that keep nucleons together in nuclei?
  • What are the properties of unstable nuclei and how can we use these properties to benefit society?

At FRIB/NSCL all these questions are investigated through the study of unstable nuclei, which often have a large excess of protons or neutrons compared to the well-known stable isotopes. These very short-lived nuclei are presently produced by the Coupled Cyclotron Facility and are delivered to the experimental areas to study their properties or even determine their existence for the first time. In the future, much more intense beams will be provided by the FRIB accelerator. Theorists help interpret experimental data and develop theories that describe and predict the properties of atomic nuclei and how they react in collisions with other nuclei in the laboratory and in stars. Astrophysical modelers use the data and theories to simulate astrophysical phenomena. Often, the theorists, experimentalists, and modelers work closely together to achieve common goals. 


NS3 participants will:

1) Be introduced to basic nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics concepts through dedicated lectures and  hands-on experimental and theoretical activities

2) Visit a cutting-edge research facility and an opportunity to meet its researchers

3) Learn about  current research topics and open questions in nuclear science

4) Observe every-day activities at a major research facility and learn from the experiences of current graduate students.

5) Meet with peers who are equally excited about research in nuclear science and nuclear astrophysics!

Who can apply?

NS3 invites applications from Physics & Chemistry Majors at US institutions who are at least 18 years of age at the time of the school. Prerequisites are Calculus, Introductory Physics I (Mechanics and Waves), Introductory Physics II (Electricity, Magnetism, Optics) and Modern Physics (or equivalent coursework). Students should be at their second or third year of study at the time of application. Preference will be given to students whose schools do not offer a Nuclear Physics Class and/or a Nuclear Physics Lab. Applications from women and students from underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged.


Participation in NS3 is funded by the National Science Foundation under grant NSF-1913554 “Windows on the Universe: Nuclear Astrophysics at NSCL”, NSCL and JINA-CEE. Local expenses (accommodation and meals) will be covered by the school. In addition, participants will receive a stipend of $500 in support of expenses made to attend the school, including travel. This stipend may be taxable. Due to IRS regulations, MSU may withhold tax from the stipend for an individual designated as a Non-Resident Alien.

Important Dates

  • Application Deadline: Friday, February 21, 2020
  • Announcement of participant selection: Friday, March 6, 2020
  • Travel to MSU: Sunday, May 17, 2020 (Optional dinner activity starts at 5:00pm)
  • School ends: Friday, May 22, 2020 (The program activities end by 6:00pm on May 22 – return travel should be planned for Saturday May 23rd)

Application Process

The application requires you to provide the following material:

  1. Personal Information
  2. Research statement in which you describe why this summer school is of interest to you.
  3. Personal statement in which you present your future career goals and how this program will help you in that direction
  4. Undergraduate course transcripts
  5. Names and emails of two professors/researchers who will provide letters of recommendation.


For questions about the school and/or the application process please write to: ns3@nscl.msu.edu

School Advisory Committee

  • Artemis Spyrou
  • Hendrik Schatz
  • Fernando Montes
  • Chris Wrede

Organizing Committee

  • Andrea Richard
  • Daniel Puentes
  • Zach Constan
  • Tabitha Pinkney-Plough
  • Remco Zegers (chair)