Advancing our understanding of the solar corona by engaging over 1400 students in authentic research"

Speaker Name/Affiliation
Heather Lewandowski / Dept. of Physics & JILA, U. Colorado Boulder
Location (Room)
JILA Auditorium
Event Details & Abstracts

Coffee, tea and cookies will be available in G1B31 (across from G1B20) from 3:30–3:50 p.m.


Abstract: Participation in undergraduate research experiences (UREs) has been identified as an important way of increasing undergraduate retention, interest, and identity within the sciences. Course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs) have been shown to have similar outcomes to UREs, but can reach a larger number of students at one time and are accessible to any student simply through enrollment in a course. One key component of a CURE is that students must participate in authentic scientific discovery in which they answer a question where the answer is initially unknown to both students and the scientific community. Here, we present student experiences with authentic research in the first large-enrollment, introductory physics CURE conducted remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. The outcomes of this CURE include a new result suggesting the mechanism for why the sun’s corona is so much hotter than the surface of the sun, which is a longstanding puzzle in solar physics. Additionally, we find that the course helped students gain research skills and programming confidence, engage in productive and enjoyable teamwork experiences, and feel motivated and interested in experimental physics research.


For a full list of recordings from the Fall 2023 Colloquium schedule, please visit: