• 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.


  • I will say that I think part of every good astronomy (or any science) research project is asking a question you don't know the answer to, and I hope that as a teacher I can bring that back to my class. Along with asking questions, both collaboration and organization are important parts of working together for science.
  • [student:] The best thing about the trip was being able to learn from and work along side real astronomers.
  • [student:] My mental image of an astronomer before this trip was just a person in the woods with telescope looking at planets in viewing parties. After, I learned how they're actually pretty funny people who get to work in amazing observatories worldwide and see things that no one else gets to see first. I also didn't really think astronomy was a big part of science, but seeing how everything was interrelated at JPL and Mt. Wilson and just looking around the Caltech campus made me realize how central it actually is. I want to be an engineer, and this just made me want to be the kind of engineer that makes space robots to research planets and stars.
  • [student:] The importance of using significant digits in calculations was finally explained to me in a way that made it seem relevant and important.
  • 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!

Summer Visit - 2013 - They Might Be Giants