• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants

The summer visit to Caltech is 3-4 days long and is the only time during the year of work when all the participants on the team come together in person to work intensively on the data. Generally, each educator may bring up to two students to the summer visit that are paid for by NITARP, and they may raise funds to bring two more. The teams work at Caltech; the summer visit typically includes a half-day tour of JPL, which is a favorite site for group photos. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

The "They Might Be Giants" team came to visit in August 2013. The core team educators attended, plus 6 students.


  • [student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to learn from and work along side real astronomers.
  • The process of gathering and analyzing data was very important to help show my kids what real research is like. And since our data didn't come out nice and neat like some labs do, it really helped push my kids to think outside the box.
  • The most important thing I learned was that it's ok sometimes to not know the answer. As teachers, many times we become so consumed by having the right answer for students. Meanwhile, our students are so consumed by finding the right answer that they miss the learning. This week showed me that no matter how much work you do (in graph, periodogram, histogram, phased curve, or whatever form) you may still not come to the conclusion you thought you would... and that's ok!
  • [The most important thing I learned was that] Data on archival websites may be derived in different ways and therefore may be contradictory. It is important to compare, but also to know how the numbers were obtained to determine which are more relevant to your needs.
  • I think my kids were surprised at how much fun [our astronomers] were. I think they had a stereotype of astronomer that definitely didn't match reality! :)

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants