• IPAC
Richard DeCoster

Dr. Richard DeCoster

Richard DeCoster

Niles West High School, Skokie, Illinois (when in NITARP)

Grades or community reached

11, 12


Mr. DeCoster was part of the first year of the program under the NITARP name.




  • Congratulations to the new Niles West Observatory! October 17, 2013

    Congratulations to NITARP alums Elizabeth Ramseyer and Rich DeCoster on the opening of the Niles West Observatory!!  Through their hard work and dedication to their students and the study of astronomy, a new observatory will be dedicated next Wednesday, October 23 from 6 to 7:30 pm at Niles West.  


  • February 2012 updates for Mr. DeCoster
  • ISTA Meeting October 15, 2011

    Vivian Hoette and Kevin McCarron presented a NITARP poster at the Illinois Science Teachers Association meeting in October 2011. They also gave a talk on our NITARP science and education.

    Elizabeth Ramseyer, Peggy Piper, and Richard DeCoster also included NITARP in talks given at the ISTA.

  • Niles West presentations April 2011 April 9, 2011

    The Niles West teams presented their education posters to the Chicago Section of the AAPT April 9th. Approx 30 people were there.

  • Niles West presentations February 2011 February 28, 2011

    The Niles West teams presented to the school board and audience (at least 30 people) both of their Science Posters.

  • January 2010 updates for Dr. DeCoster
  • New 2010 Class October 1, 2009

    The 2010 class has been selected!


  • For me the most interesting parts of the AAS meeting were the plenary talks. These talks were long enough that those without the special knowledge had a chance to understand what was being discussed. The special session on gamma-ray pulsars [was specifically interesting to me because the subject] had just been chosen by AAAS and Science as its runner-up story of the year. I had gone back and looked at the August issue of Science and tried to at least understand the article abstracts. Being able to follow this up with talks by the people involved was really neat!

  • ...students, given an interesting task, could stay on task for hours at a time.

  • My students were really impressed when I gave them just a summary of some of the stuff we did and saw [at the AAS]!

  • One of my students at Niles West had become interested in GRBs as we thought they were the results of mergers of black holes [but we learned this was wrong at an AAS plenary talk]. My student thought it was interesting that scientists could change their minds about how things worked.

  • Finally much of the [AAS 2009] invited talk by Eugene Churazov on Galaxy Clusters and Black Holes I found to be understandable because he used many equations from ideal gas laws that are familiar to high school teachers and their students. In talking with Dr. Churazov after his talk, he re-emphasized how far one could go on this topic with these familiar and seemingly simple equations.

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