• 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:] I didn't expect astronomy to have so much computing in it. It makes sense now, because it would be hard to talk to space telescopes and rovers without them.
  • [student:] I think that the most important quality for an astronomer to have other than the obvious (intelligence, writes well, etc.) is perseverance. Because no matter how smart you are or how much research you have done, eventually you will get to the point where there is something that you simply just don't understand. However, being an astronomer means pushing through those difficulties and working at the problem until you have solved it, which is exactly what perseverance is.
  • [...] it was so much fun talking about science incessantly in a world where that isn't always socially appropriate.
  • Our group is absolutely changed [by the summer visit], especially in terms of engagement from the kids who are now absolutely psyched and won’t stop texting me about wanting to do more research.
  • [student:] When we first started working on learning the science behind our project, I felt doubtful of my own abilities and my previous knowledge. I was the only rising junior out of the students, and because I had never taken an astronomy course, or a math course that dealt with logarithms, I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to understand, and that I would be alone in this. However, I was supported by all participants, soon realizing that we were all in it together, and was able to gain an significant understanding of the material.

Summer Visit - 2018 - Cosmic DIRt