SIP 2014 Intern Zixin Chen presents poster at AGU
We're proud to report that SIP had four regional finalists and five semifinalists in the 2014 Siemens Competition in Math, Science, and Technology, hosted by the Siemens Foundation. This year's regional finalists were: Jason Chu, Lea Sparkman, Pranav Sekhar, and Aaron Huang. This year's semifinalists were: Alice Wu, Ajinkya Nene, Omkar Savant, Adele Bloch, and Deepti Kannan. Congratulations to all of these fantastic interns for their hard work and outstanding achievements!
SIP is a sponsor of this conference, and encourages the program's alumnae, and their friends, to attend!
High-school Scientists/Galactic Exploration – An article courtesy of International Innovation, Research Media Ltd. – a leading scientific dissemination service
Dr. Puragra 'Raja' GuhaThakurta is an expert on galaxy evolution, but also aims to inspire the next generation of scientists. Here, he shares details of the Science Internship Program he started at the University of California, Santa Cruz, which engages high-school students in experimental learning.
Interns seek hands-on, real-world experience beyond the classroom.
A growing summer internship program for high school students at UC Santa Cruz has consistently produced successful entries in nationwide science competitions. The 2013 Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology is no exception: out of 51 semifinalists from California, 15 were participants in the UCSC Science Internship Program (SIP), and of the 15 regional finalists from California, three were UCSC SIP participants. Participants in the 2013 Science Internship Program at UCSC posed for a group photo after presenting their work at the end of the summer. (Photo by Mark Yamaguma) Regional winners will be selected in November and compete for the national awards in December. The Siemens Foundation awards prizes and scholarships to regional and national winners. The 61 students who participated in the SIP program this year came from high schools throughout the region, from Santa Cruz to Oakland. The program even attracts students from out of state, including one this year who is a regional finalist in Indiana. The interns work with UCSC researchers and are given projects that are part of their mentor's broader research program. Most of the research is in the physical sciences, including physics, chemistry, engineering, and astrophysics. Of this year's students, 39 applied to the Siemens competition. "The program has been growing steadily, and our students' rate of success in these competitions has also grown," said Puragra (Raja) GuhaThakurta, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at UCSC who founded and directs the SIP program. He noted that the program's participants had a much higher rate of success in the Siemens competition than the national average (about one in eight contestants nationally were semifinalists, compared to well over a third of UCSC contestants). GuhaThakurta said he was
Background: Galaxy cannibalism/merging appears to be an important process through which galaxies grow in mass/size and evolve. There are many examples of ongoing collisions between two large galaxies and many involving the tidal disruption of a small ("dwarf") galaxy by a large one. We have identified a rare case of a dwarf galaxy cannibalizing an even smaller galaxy. Earlier this year, our team obtained spectra of red giant stars associated with the disrupted smaller galaxy in order to better characterize/understand this event. Analysis procedure: The interns will start by checking the extraction window of each slit to make sure its location agrees with the information in the mask design file. They will then assess spectral quality by inspecting spectra and identifying and excluding sections of/entire spectra affected by instrumental and atmospheric artifacts. Next, they will identify and exclude background galaxies. The remaining spectra will then be co-added in groups according to sky position in order to boost the signal-to-noise ratio. Radial velocities will be measured via cross-correlation against existing bright spectral templates. Mentor: Aaron Romanowsky, Professor Secondary Mentors: Dr. Jacob Arnold, Dr. Elisa Toloba, Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta