• 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 also observed that [our astronomers] did not always know the answers..sometimes they were as lost in what the data was saying and where our research was going as the rest of us. Scientists don't always know the answers...I think the most impactful thing that I heard was "When scientists know what they're doing, they need to stop. When engineers don't know what they're doing, they need to stop."
  • I think most people carry misconceptions of scientists as a whole... but I also think most people don't even personally know an astronomer or scientist. The fact that I know and have worked with scientists is going to be helpful to share with students.
  • 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! :)
  • [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!
  • [The best thing about the trip was} Doing real science. I can't say enough how much I value the opportunity NITARP has given me to be part of real astronomy research for the first time in my career. Bringing back the knowledge, the feeling of not knowing, the drive to continue to find an answer and the skills that I needed to work in a group will be so helpful to me and my students.

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants