• IPAC

Summer "Visit" - 2020 - OIRMA

Our regular summer visit to Caltech was hijacked by COVID-19. So we did an online work week instead -- 4 days when all the participants on the team come together to work intensively on the data. Reload to see a different set of quotes.

OIRMA worked July 5-9, 2020. The 5 core team educators attended, plus 6 students.


  • [student:] what the group provided was a system of rapid feedback which I could assist with my own insights and receive help from in times of confusion. At parts in the workflow where I might be banging my head against the wall, I could work through the issue with someone else, which was helped greatly by screen sharing. By the end of the week, the group felt like more than a formal convocation of academics to conduct research, and more of a group of enthusiasts who could also joke and engage in tangent discussion, not just work.
  • The best thing about the week was being able to contribute to a real project where we don’t know the answer. [...] It was refreshing to have the chance to explore and analyze.
  • [student:] “Real astronomy” is being curious, and wanting to turn that curiosity into answers. This means articulating your problem, then coming up with a way to solve that problem, even if it means taking a detour from what you originally thought you would have to do to reach your solution. I loved that things weren’t set in stone, and that we often adapted our methods on the spot in order to suit our needs. This entire experience taught me that, as I had expected, not everything is sunshine and roses, and that sometimes, you have to do a bit of unexpected grunt work in order to achieve a goal.
  • [It's important for astronomers to have:] Curiosity. Patience. Tenacity. Ability to collaborate fruitfully. Willingness to ask for help. Willingness to work hard on something that may not turn out.
  • Real astronomy is DATA. It is having to think outside the box to turn the invisible visible by using multiple sets of information from potentially multiple sources. I expected this would be part of the research project but was surprised by the ability to successfully change methods for data collection during the project.

Summer "Visit" - 2020 - OIRMA