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Michigan Center for Undergraduate Research

The Michigan Center for Undergraduate Research (MCUR) supports and advances strong undergraduate research by nurturing innovative ideas, projects and collaborations. Housed in the Honors College, MCUR provides for undergraduate researchers across Oakland University by offering information and training, by promoting ingenuity and aspiration, and by helping develop projects and project funding plans.

Scholarship Opportunities
Aaron, release the E stop. Ten volts, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.

So we are the fuser group, Star in a Jar, as a part of the Honors College thesis project.

Here specifically we are building a Hirsch Farnsworth fuser. It is a inertial electrostatic containment device. It uses a powerful electrical field to both create and contain a ball of plasma.

So one of the main goals of this project was to be able to make a, another clean renewable source of energy with virtually no radioactive waste. The positive side of fusion versus fission is that fusion doesn’t create as many radioactive byproducts as fission. Fission by, by it’s own nature uses heavier elements which start out radioactive and after the reaction they’re still radioactive because they’re not stable isotopes of the, of their own elements.

Seventy, eighty, ninety, one hundred, one hundred and ten, one hundred and twenty. You can see that the purple glow is produced by the plasma inside the inner grid. The glow becomes brighter as more voltage is applied.

When you get down to it though, this is basically just a fancy neon sign. It operates on this, pretty much the same principle. We have a high voltage which creates an electrical field in a gas that creates a plasma. Why you see purple here is because the purple wavelength is a part of air’s spectral emissions, that being mostly nitrogen with a little bit of oxygen and a few other trace elements. What are we, are we still getting to what four or five hundred?

Five hundred. This is what our issue is though.

What is? Do we need a higher stand?

There’s gonna be very few instances where you’re working on something solely by yourself and you’re gonna be often put into teams with people you may not even know and I think having the ability to work cohesively in a team and bounce ideas off each other and keep each other in check, on task, is just such a wonderful trait to have going forward. And I think we really demonstrated that within our group and allowed for further progress we made simply by having other people.

I think we’re, we’re very happy with our results. We did accomplish what we set out to do which was to achieve star mode. We’re working towards achieving a more powerful star mode in which we are able to preform nuclear fusion.
Get Started

Undergraduate research opportunities are available in nearly every major.

Through research, you’ll learn to hone your skills in writing, creativity, editing and researching - skills essential for employment and/or graduate school.

Where do you start?
First, explore your options: areas of study, research mentors and centers and facilities. Then, reach out to a professor or mentor within your field of interest.

Questions? Contact

Undergraduate Research Funding Opportunities

Web GURU Guide to Undergraduate Research
This guide is full of additional information about undergraduate research programs, mentoring, and professionalism in the lab. 

Council on Undergraduate Research
CUR helps support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

Center for Undergraduate Research Leadership
The Center for Undergraduate Research Leadership (CURL), supports undergraduate research leadership initiatives. CURL assists in supporting leadership development and excellence among the Oakland University undergraduate community, and the qualities of creativity, innovation and social and public enterprise. The leadership center aims to advance the idea that strong undergraduate research leadership supports the future of higher education, the engine powering the success of our colleges and universities and of the public and private sectors.