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Three-Week Summer Science Program 2024

BioSTEM Award, 2018, J&J • Top Summer Science Program, 2011-Present, NY Times/ • Top Robotics Program, 2017, RoboLoco • Best Medicine Program, 2018, ParentMap • Top Biomedical Engineering, • Top 101 Summer Camps & Programs, • #1 Marine Bio, 2022, ThomasNet, Xometry • Top Summer Programs, 2023,  •  Best Computer Science, 2023,

 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 with our BLI speakers who have included physics scholars from Harvard, Tufts, Princeton, and more. 

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.

Only have one week? Check out our Physics of Space or Planetary Science programs!

Still in middle school? Start your cosmic journey early with our Astronomy program!

Summer 2024 Dates:

July 1-19, 2024 | Gann/Bentley, Waltham

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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.

Instructor: Scott Scharlach

Scott Scharlach is pursuing a graduate degree in Physics at Tufts University. Mr. Scharlach earned his Bachelor’s degree in Physics from Pomona College. He had earlier graduated as Valedictorian of his high school class! Scott Scharlach has authored several published papers that have appeared in astrophysics journals and has made numerous research presentations. Mr. Scharlach has deep teaching experience as a TA at both Pomona College and Tufts. He worked as a researcher at the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute and at the Mount Wilson Observatory. Mr. Scharlach has a passion for teaching and was a researcher in child development at MIT. His research presentations have included “Exploration-Based Learning at MIT” at the American Association of Physics Teachers and “Sunspots and Geomagnetic Storms” for the Tufts Physics & Astronomy Department. 

Astrophysics student comments

Student Comments from Summer 2023

‘This program was awesome. I attended this program to see if this would be a topic I could explore more in college, and I feel like this class gave great insight into that curiosity. This class and my teacher’s enthusiasm allowed me to find out what I like specifically in astrophysics.’

‘The program was unique and interesting; very open and we were able to discuss many things throughout our time. I really appreciated the discussion-style of teaching, and how we were pushed to ask questions. I felt as though the flow of topics made sense, and I was often curious to know more. I liked working with data and having the ability to form our own conclusions.’

I learned so much about astronomy and astrophysics with practically no stress or boredom. I really enjoyed this program as a whole, as I learned much about a topic I was interested in. I enjoyed the parts of the program where I had to think about things, like classifying galaxies or solving Schrodinger’s equation.’

Student Comments from Summer 2023

‘I loved the program! I really liked the deep conversations we got into and how the teaching style applied to so many people.’

‘The teacher was really enthusiastic, I really liked the dorms and the food was nice.’

‘I loved the program! The teacher was very enthusiastic and you could see his love for astrophysics! I also loved the dorms and the suite style.’

‘The program was really fun and interesting. We went pretty in-depth on a lot of stuff. The teacher was really great, he explained things really well and was super kind and awesome.’ 

‘I really liked the class because it was interesting for both people with a lot of knowledge and others with very little. Our teacher included everyone in everything, and made sure to explain everything such that we understood it.’

Astrophysics presentation

Note: This page represents our best expectations for the program we will deliver, but is subject to change. We will update this page as new information becomes available.

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