• 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:] I thought we would get to actually observe stars through a telescope, [...] I also did not expect so much time to be spend on the computer.
  • 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!
  • But for me as a teacher, I am going to use this data base and some of what we did to do a better job of teaching stellar evolution ... especially as it relates to hydrogen core, hydrogen shell, and helium core burners. We will try to do some similar things in class that we did this summer ... how to use a light curve, how to use a periodogram to find periods, etc. This will help bring some practicality to astronomical theory.
  • [student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to learn from and work along side real astronomers.
  • [student:] Yes, this did change my thoughts about astronomers! I never expected astronomers to be lively, funny, and talkative, while maintaining a mind of a genius!

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants