I am facing a dilemma here. I can't decide where to go for my summer research this year.
I am a sophomore at a Big Ten university that is well known for its physics program, especially condensed matter. I am taking the second semester of both upper level quantum mechanics and E&M right now and am close to complete all the required physics classes.
I worked in my physics department last summer already for a high energy physics professor. My work involved exclusively computer engineering and programming that had nothing whatsoever to do with physics.
This semester, I just started working for a new professor in AMO physics. The research involves cooling and trapping atoms with lasers. Right now, I am building circuit boards for the apparatus of the experiment. I will also be learning about laser cooling and trapping, building the laser, vacuum chamber, doing some laser spectroscopy when the lab is finally set up. The professor wants me to stay for the summer.
I am really interested in this professor's research and he is a great guy. But I am not sure if it is a good idea for me to do all of my summer research in my own school's physics department.
Does grad school appreciate it more if you have done research in other places besides your home school's department? Since I am an international student, I don't have that many choices regarding summer research programs. But among the few places that do fund international students, I am interested in Lehigh, William and Mary, and Harvard's REU
programs, in the area of condensed matter. Comparing to doing summer research in my own school, these programs would be more organized and structured. And mostly likely, I will be able to produce a research paper at the end of the program, which won't happen if I work in my school this summer.
But on the other hand, working for this professor in my department in the summer gives me much more consistency and allows me to build a great relationship with him whom I will likely be working with for my junior year, even beyond. And he told me that if everything goes well, I will be able to publish a paper in 1.5 to 2 years.
So what's your opinion? Should I do work in my ow school this summer or else where?