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2008 Undergraduate Research Symposia in the Physical Sciences, Mathematics and Computer Science

The URS in the Physical Sciences and Math will be held October 31 - November 2 at Washington University in St. Louis. Up to eight students and two faculty members from each of the 14 Consortium member campuses are invited to participate in each meeting. Costs for participants including transportation, lodging and meals will be covered by the Consortium.

The meeting will include both poster and oral presentations by undergraduates as well as several plenary seminars by faculty. One of these presentations, the first Janet Anderson Lecture will be given by award winner Dr. Jeff Wilkerson, Associate Professor of Physics from Luther College. The title of Prof. Wilkerson's talk is "At Home in the Milky Way".

Undergraduates who would like to present their research results are encouraged to speak with their research advisor(s) to prepare an abstract and decide between a 15-minute oral presentation and a poster presentation. Students are encouraged to present individually, but on occasion, teams of two or three students have presented together. Check with your research advisor about preparing your abstract.

In response to feedback we've gotten from past meetings, we are going to break up the long day on Saturday, by offering participants the chance to visit one of the many beautiful parks and museums of St. Louis. Participants may choose to visit the zoo, the Gateway Arch or an Art Museum. Participants will return to the University for dinner and an evening session before returning to the hotel.

Symposium Information for Participants

 Student Presentations:  Oral presentations are scheduled at 15-minute intervals, allowing 12 minutes for the presentation and 3 minutes for questions.  If you are planning to use Power Point, please bring your presentation on a laptop computer or a jump/flash drive. Poster presentations will allow participants to display their experimental results on a tack board panel measuring 60" x 40".  The poster should include a title banner with the project title, authors, and college affiliation(s). Poster boards, easels, and mounting pins will be provided.

Travel arrangements:  Participants traveling by plane must purchase their tickets through the Consortium travel agent.  If you have questions about your travel arrangements, please contact your campus's Consortium Representative (

Air-travel Luggage: Due to the possible additional charges for checked luggage on some airlines, please try to avoid having to check your bag(s). Most airlines allow two small carry-on bags (a purse, briefcase, small suitcase etc.) If checking your bag is absolutely necessary, and there is a fee, save your receipt and give it to the faculty member traveling with you.  

Housing:  Participants will stay in downtown Clayton, MO, at the Sheraton Clayton Plaza Hotel, 7730 Bonhomme Avenue, St. Louis (Clayton), MO,  63105 (314-863-0400).  Students will generally be housed 3 or 4 to a room, while faculty will be housed 2 to a room.  The rooms will all have two double beds, so you may be asked to share a bed with someone from your school. We cannot arrange for cots, but you are welcome to bring a sleeping bag.  Hotel reservations will be have already been made through the Consortium office. The room rate plus tax at the hotel will be charged directly to the symposium.  However, participants will be asked for a credit card when you check in and you will be responsible for any other charges incurred (e.g., phone calls, movies, food, etc.)

Arrival in St. Louis:  Participants should time their travel so that they arrive in St. Louis by 6:00 pm on Friday, October 31. A buffet dinner at the hotel will begin at 6:30pm. When you arrive, check in to the hotel and then visit the conference table in the lobby (starting at 5:30pm) to pick up your meeting packet and your name tag.

If arriving by plane:  Complimentary Airport Transportation is available to the hotel from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm via hotel shuttle.  Upon arrival, simply proceed to the baggage claim area and dial #54 on the nearest "Courtesy Phone."  Give the operator your name and airline information and you will be directed to the nearest shuttle pick-up location.

If arriving by car:  You will find the Sheraton Clayton Plaza in the heart of Clayton at 7730 Bonhomme Avenue.  Complimentary parking is available at the hotel for guests. Driving instructions can be found below; consult MapQuest for more details.

Driving Directions (check any of the online directions sites for maps)

Arriving from the East:  Take I-40/64 West to Hanley Road (exit 32B).  Go north on Hanley to Bonhomme and then go left (west) ½ block to 7730 Bonhomme.

Arriving from the North (Airport):  From Lambert International Airport, take I-70 East to I-170 South to Forest Park Parkway (exit 1E).  From Forest Park Parkway, take the ramp to S. Central Ave.  From S. Central, turn right (east) onto Bonhomme to 7730 Bonhomme.

Saturday Afternoon Sightseeing

As you'll see in the meeting schedule, there will be a few hours on Saturday afternoon when you can go visit one of St. Louis's well-known sights. The three options are, the Gateway Arch, the Zoo or the art museum. Please visit these links so you have an idea of which of the three you'd like to visit.  You will have time to go back to the hotel briefly, if you need to change clothes, put on more comfortable shoes, or grab your camera. Admission to the Zoo and the art museum are free. The cost of admission for the arch is $10 and will be covered by the Consortium, but you must pay your admission, save your receipt and give it to the faculty member with you from your school for reimbursement.

Conference Dress

This is a professional meeting, so we appreciate you not wearing torn jeans and old sweatshirts. However, neither men nor women are expected to wear business suits.  Some participants wear a tie with a button down shirt, but many do not. Some women choose to wear a skirt or a dress, but you may be more comfortable in dress pants.

Event Photos - (click to view full-size image)