• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights

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 Dust Mights team came to visit in July 2019. The 4 core team educators attended, plus 5 students.


  • We were all so different from each other, yet all so open to each other, all so open to making mistakes in front of each other, all so open to the messiness of true learning in front of each other and our kids. This was important and interesting.
  • Astronomy is imagination powered by math and inspired by the sky. I am surprised and delighted at the sheer volume of data available and all the opportunity hidden inside it.
  • I believe [this] was my students’ first experience of true intellectual work. And they loved it. On returning home, it was the first thing one of them told their parents about, right there in the airport next to baggage claim. It was also a topic of self-initiated conversation I overheard the kids talking about among themselves. In other words, NITARP gave them their first "braingasm," their first experience of amazing pleasure that comes after hard thinking. An essential experience at the heart of the intrinsic motivation that will carry these kids through their studies and professional lives. I can’t thank you enough for this.
  • Astronomy has always been about aggregating and parsing massive tables of data. So in a way, teaching us to do astronomy with data is just as primal as, and far richer than, anything we teach as “astronomy” in K-12 school (earth science can include some basics, and so can physics).
  • The training in the classroom (and Varoujan’s method of teaching it to us) was invaluable. The individual work and telecons have been helpful for setting a baseline, but learning [...] and being all in one room together to get our misconceptions worked out has really increased my confidence in the work we are doing.

Summer Visit - 2019 - Dust Mights