• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS

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 SIRXS team came to visit in July 2014. The core team educators attended, plus 11 students.



  • [student:] Yes, I was under the impression that astronomy wasn’t a difficult scientific field to study and that astronomy deals mainly with planets. But now, I can see that there is so much more to astronomy than just planets. There are a lot of unknowns and to study astronomy you need a strong and talented brain. You also need patience, focus, and passion for it.
  • The ability to collaborate is crucial. This is something I have been hoping to work on in myself and with my students, and I think it was a huge part of the experience.
  • [student:] One thing that stood out to me is the how complicated diagrams and graphs can get.
  • [..] I’m familiar with tackling problems, creating potential solutions, testing them, and re-iterating the process. Research is sort of the opposite in that implementing a solution is not the goal, but rather to learn things we didn’t know before. This polarity between engineering and science was never clearer than during this entire project. This lack of planning or organization in the research process made me somewhat uncomfortable.
  • Our group included students, teachers, and a scientist, and we were all engaged in a common goal. As a teacher, the classroom experience so often involves telling the students what to do and then having them do it. It is refreshing to have a chance to work with the students on a project that isn't predetermined.

Summer Visit - 2014 - SIRXS