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Physics of space

One-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,

Is there life on other planets? What conditions are needed for life to thrive? How are solar systems formed? What is the fate of our own solar system?

Planetary scientists have been studying these questions using newly developed robot spacecrafts.They are observing planetary systems, replicating environments, and building theoretical models to piece together the infinite unknown details of the universe. 

Students will study space exploration missions, the increasingly detailed observations of planets we’ve recently reached, and the uniqueness of our own planet’s ability to harbor life. This program is perfect for students who are interested in Astronomy or Astrobiology. 


June 24th – 28th, 2024 | Gann/Bentley, Waltham

August 5th – 9th, 2024 | Olin/Wellesley, MA

More About: Awards – Research Programs – Sample Week

In this one-week program, students will explore the fascinating behaviors of the sun, planets, and moons, and the surprisingly gigantic size and shape of our solar system. They will investigate newly detected exoplanets (planets in other stars), the literally out-of-this-world features that astrophysicists have discovered about them, and the methods astrophysicists use to search for new exoplanets. Students will explore the many types of stars in the universe, the “life cycle” of stars (including our own Sun), and the fate of our solar system over billions of years.

Students will delve into the clever techniques scientists use to calculate the distance to objects in outer space, ranging from our own Moon to distance galaxy clusters at the edge of the known universe.

Students will also pursue various hands-on activities in aerospace engineering, such as constructing their own model landing crafts and model rockets. Astrobiology — the study of life on other worlds — will be a prominent theme throughout the week. The instructor will emphasize the possibilities of life on other planets and how astrophysicists are working to discover more about the habitability of exoplanets.

Instructor: Scott Scharlach

Mr. Scharlach attended graduate school at Tufts University, where he studied astrophysics, theoretical cosmology, and Physics Education Research (PER). The one thing that Mr. Scharlach loves more than learning about the universe is sharing what he’s learned with others. In his free time, he enjoys solving the Rubik’s cube, folding origami animals, and creative writing.

Student Comments from Summer 2023

‘This class was fascinating! Miguel explained all the topics in ways that were difficult, but in ways that allowed us to think for ourselves (in a good way)! He was funny and interesting. His explanations made sense, even if he really made you have to think.’

‘The program was really fun and it corresponded to my interests. I always thought about what we had learned after, and my teacher was really nice and funny, and explained things in a way that made it easy to understand.’

‘I loved my teacher and this program as it gave me ideas and questions to inquire about that I hadn’t thought of before. Miguel helped a lot with my mindset and the way I approach these questions, and I loved his style of lessons and teaching.’

‘I really loved the program! Miguel is what a teacher is supposed to be, non-lecturing. I was engaged with almost all the topics. Miguel explained everything with clarity and honestly changed the way I think about physics and astronomy.’

Looking for more? Try our three-week Astrophysics or Mars Mission programs!

Rising middle school? Check out Astronomy!

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

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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