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SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program. Additional AOs for the Amgen Scholars program can be found here.

Specific GROWTH projects being offerred for summer 2018 can be found here.

Each AO indicates whether or not it is open to non-Caltech students. If an AO is NOT open to non-Caltech students, please DO NOT contact the mentor.

Announcements of Opportunity are posted as they are received. Please check back regularly for new AO submissions! Remember: This is just one way that you can go about identifying a suitable project and/or mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

Students pursuing opportunities at JPL must be
U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents.

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Project:  Needles in a Cosmic Haystack (in Copenhagen)
Disciplines:  Astronomy, Physics, Computer Science
Mentor:  Gabe Brammer, Professor, (PMA),, Phone: +45 27514447
Mentor URL:  (opens in new window)
AO Contact:  Charles Steinhardt,
Background:  NOTE: This project is being offered by a colleague of a Caltech alumnus and will be conducted at Niels Bohr Institute/University of Copenhagen in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This is one of several projects available at the Niels Bohr Institute this summer, and we expect that in total 3-5 Caltech students will come to Copenhagen during our second year running a summer program. Since travel within Europe is inexpensive, this will be an 11 or 12 week program, so that students can take a 1-2 week vacation to see other parts of Europe. Other projects in astronomy with different mentors will also be available. We hope to finalize who will be coming by mid-January, so that there will be plenty of time to both write a SURF proposal and take care of any necessary visa/housing. More information is available at or by emailing

A range of projects related to early-Universe galaxy formation and evolution are available, ranging from observational to computational depending upon your background and interest. This is one such project, with several others described in a previous AO (“Multiple Projects in Galaxy Evolution”)
Description:  Over the last few years the Hubble Space Telescope has surveyed nearly a square degree of the sky (4x the size of the full moon) with its near-infrared spectroscopic mode. To this date only a small fraction of these data has been studied systematically. With newly-developed analysis tools, we will search for and study the most extreme, rare objects that can only be discovered in the full survey volume. These objects will include gravitationally lensed galaxies, and the most massive, the largest, and the most star-forming galaxies at redshifts 1 to 2, which likely evolve into the huge galaxies seen at the centers of massive galaxy clusters in the present day. The Hubble spectra will provide unique characterization of their stellar populations and the intensity and spatial distribution of their ongoing star formation activity.
Student Requirements:  Variable, depending upon the project, but some computational background is strongly recommended. Some projects will be suitable for freshmen, and others will require a more formal astronomy, physics, or computer science background.
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    Caltech students only 

Click on a program name for program info and application requirements.

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