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Announcements of Opportunity

SURF: Announcements of Opportunity

Below are Announcements of Opportunity posted by Caltech faculty and JPL technical staff for the SURF program.

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. Click here for more tips on finding a mentor.

Announcements for external summer programs are listed here.

New for 2021: Students applying for JPL projects should complete a SURF@JPL application instead of a "regular" SURF application.

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

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Project:  Constraining Dark Energy with Weak Gravational Lensing
Discipline:  Astronomy/Astrophysics
Mentor:  Peter Taylor, (JPL), peter.taylor@jpl.nasa.gov, Phone: (818) 354-6027
Background:  The evolution of the Universe can be modelled with only 6 parameters. The product of a century of theoretical and observational developments, this model remains the best description of current cosmological observations. It is nonetheless deceptive in its simplicity, as it incorporates the most pressing questions faced by astrophysics today. Observations indeed show that the expansion of the Universe has been accelerating for the past 5 billion years, with no sign of slowing down. This odd behavior is not possible in a universe filled by matter alone, and the simplest explanation is that the matter-energy balance of the Universe is dominated by dark energy, whose density stays constant with the expansion of the Universe. Dark energy does not correspond to any known particles, and we have no satisfactory ways to describe it microscopically.
Description:  At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, you will have the opportunity to participate in our efforts to understand dark energy through our studies of the assembly and evolution of large-scale structures in the Universe. We study large-scale structures with weak gravitational lensing: the stretching and shearing of the images of galaxies by intervening matter. Our group participates in the largest current and future galaxy surveys: the Dark Energy Survey, the future ground-based Rubin Observatory, NASA's upcoming Roman Space Telescope mission, and the European satellite mission EUCLID. These surveys will observe millions to billions of galaxies with unprecedented precision, and provide spectacular datasets for weak lensing. The volume of incoming data and their unprecedented precision presents us with new challenges you can help us solve, ranging from theoretical developments to machine learning applications.
Student Requirements: 
Location / Safety:  Project building and/or room locations: . Student will need special safety training: .
Programs:  This AO can be done under the following programs:

  Program    Available To
       SURF    both Caltech and non-Caltech students 

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


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