• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2018 - Cosmic DIRt

The summer visit to Caltech is 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 Cosmic dIRt team came to visit in June 2018. The core team educators attended, plus 10 students.


  • [student:] We were analyzing real data from Spitzer and drawing our own conclusions. This is exactly what I expected would be part of scientific research. The analysis and manipulation of raw data from the universe around us to make our own conclusions about how the universe works and what's in it. And to me, the fact that I am able to be involved in that process is beyond amazing.
  • I think just watching the kids interact surprised me -- they had a lot in common but were also really different. I was surprised at how much they learned from each other.
  • [student:] I feel like I have a better understanding of what astronomers actually do. I had previously been confused what astronomers actually do, but I now know that they are working all the time to follow interesting things and broaden our understanding of space. I also did not realize how much they work with a variety of different scientists when working on projects.
  • I feel like my kids developed a much deeper understanding of the subject material by having the discussions we did and practicing with the group. It was really cool to see how the kids all came and worked together on this project. I think that bonding experience will help make the research easier since we are more comfortable with each other, it will be easier to share ideas and speak up when something doesn't feel quite right.
  • Getting to work with people who are genuinely interested in science research and want to talk about it as much as I do was fantastic.

Summer Visit - 2018 - Cosmic DIRt