• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN

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 HIPS AGN team came to visit in June 2016. The core team educators attended, plus 8 students.


  • [student: This experience changed the way I thought about astronomy and astronomers because] I've interned with astronomers before and thought that the norm was a small workplace of 10-20 people all doing research at about the same level. Here, I got to see the varied specializations people had in just this one building -- different types of engineers, people organizing the data, managing the data, professors, etc. in addition to astronomers mainly doing research. I didn't know anything about how research was done (in terms of proposals and funding and etc.) before this trip. I really, really liked having the astronomers come in to talk about their lives and their jobs. They were candid and personal, which resulted in a very refreshing and in-depth talk!
  • [student:] The work carried out over the trip most definitely couldn’t have been done with the same effectiveness had it been done online. Having that face to face contact, learning alongside of your fellow researchers, being able to compare work then and there, and being able to ask questions as they come is something that you just can’t quite replicate over the Internet or a telephone.
  • [student:] This experience significantly changed the way I think of astronomers. Before going to Caltech and meeting Varoujan and Luisa, I believed astronomers needed to know everything and could not get anything wrong. However, after listening to many astronomers discuss their jobs, I learned that many times this is not the case. Astronomers often do not know the answers to some of their biggest questions and will sometimes think of theories that are incorrect. However, after realizing this, my respect for astronomers has only increased. Astronomers need to have the willpower to continue to try to solve a problem and the intelligence to discover what they do not know.
  • [student:] Messing up is a huge part of being anything in the sciences. There might be times where you will get it the first time, but that only means you are lucky.
  • [student:] A good deal of the information was difficult to process despite relearning it each day. However, it was extremely rewarding when I finally did begin to understand—which was another thing that surprised me. *I* understood college-level astronomy.

Summer Visit - 2016 - HIPS AGN