• IPAC

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS

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 C-WAYS team came to visit in July 2012. The core team educators attended, plus 12 students, and two additional scientists.  Dr. JD Armstrong (LCOGT/UH) and Dr. Babar Ali (IPAC) also assissted.


  • I was surprised to see the amount of work was needed for a seemingly small job. To have stayed for such a short amount of time and to have done so much work [..] was overwhelming.
  • Overall the program is confirming what I knew about the amount of math and physics involved in real astronomical research. [..] to be part of the process, to see it all in so much more detail makes me appreciate the hard work even more. And it will help convey to young students what they need to move forward to be scientists.
  • Probably the most interesting thing I learned was that astronomers are more detectives piecing the universe together. Since we cannot actually see the life cycle of a star, we are forced to look at stars in different points in their (unfathomably long) lives and match them up in sequential order. Most importantly, "real science" is nothing like "textbook science" where we have explicit directions and there is a definite right or wrong answer. In the real world of science, we have to trust ourselves that we have done our best to reach the answer we deem correct.
  • I was surprised that I ended up getting help from one of the students on the conversion to energy flux.
  • The most surprising thing was that after all the complicated stuff was explained to us, and the big picture was revealed, it turned out that it really was not that difficult once you got the hang of it -- essentially it was just making some graphs and looking at some data -- so once it was explained (which it was, quite well) it got easy. I expected it to be mind numbingly difficult the entire time. There were also quite a few other [surprising things], but that's the most exuberant.

Summer Visit - 2012 - C-WAYS