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Three-Week Summer Science Program

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-2019, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, •
Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • Top Biomedical Engineering, 2017,

The application is now live for Summer 2021!

If we can run in person, we will. If we need to run remotely, we will. 


 Since the advent of human life, we have looked to those luminescent points in the night sky with wonder and curiosity. How do we know the distances to various stars and planets? What is dark matter? Why do we need it? Is a black hole a hole? Do pulsars pulse? Venus is hotter than mercury, Sirius is hotter than our Sun – but wait, how do we know that?
Explore these astounding questions and much more with our BLI teaching team, which includes physics scholars from Harvard and Princeton!
As we traverse the cosmos, it is imperative to understand the laws of physics that allow astronomers and space scientists to grasp the behavior of celestial bodies. This course offers an exciting look into the fundamental physics of the universe and is ideal for teens interested in physics and astronomy.
Students visit an observatory in the Physics of Space one-week summer science program


June 28 – July 16, 2021
Gann Academy/Bentley – Waltham, MA

Students do research in the Physics of Space one-week summer science program

Students will learn about and explore SETI signals, using data streaming online to search for radio signals in space that may originate from extraterrestrial intelligence. They will use data streaming in from Pluto from the Bright Horizons project. Cassini, a satellite orbiting Venus, streams data that students can analyze on their own computers. Students will learn about stellar nurseries that create new galaxies. They will explore how wobbling in the light streaming in from distant stars may indicate the existence of orbiting planets. This data will be explored against a backdrop of lectures on astrophysics and a field trip to a local observatory.

Our Teaching Team

Vince Coljee

Vincent Coljee is a scientist with a diverse background spanning biophysics, chemistry to various sub-disciplines of biology and therapeutics and designed this program for the Boston Leadership Institute. Vincent was selected as a finalist for the Mars Society MA365 project and served as a consultant for the one year NASA HI-SEAS Mars simulation. He spent 17 days at the MDRS station in Utah for a 2 week Mars simulation to practice in November 2014. Vincent had also started a collaboration with Mara Prentiss at Harvard University in 1999 and helped develop a biophysics program studying DNA and DNA-protein interactions. In 2005, Vincent became a visiting scholar at Harvard University and has been a Harvard staff member in the Physics department since 2005.

Carmel Johnston

This program will also feature heavily credentialed guest lecturers. In the past, these included Carmel Johnston, a soil chemist and former Crew Commander for NASA’s one year Mars simulation, HI-SEAS IV (watch her TED talk about the experience to the left and read her NPR transcript below) as well as Paul Artur Plett, a faculty member at Indiana University with a specialization on radiation induced damage. Mars Mission students will have a unique opportunity to learn from some of the most knowledgeable instructors in the country.

Student Comments

‘The program was an amazing experience. My teachers were very knowledgeable and taught me so much. For someone who wants to pursue theoretical astrophysics in the future, I could not have found a better summer program. It only made my love for physics greater, and it was exactly what I was looking for…We were also given the opportunity to see the CFA at Harvard, which was a trip I will never forget. Hopefully I will end up there myself one day!’

‘It was awesome, the teachers are awesome! I also feel privileged that Vincent brought Alex in.’ 

‘I love how knowledgeable our teachers are. They always answered all of our questions and do their best to make sure everyone understands the material.’

Our Programs are Featured on the National Association for Gifted Children Website

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