The staff at the Arecibo Observatory doesn’t just engage in cerebral scientific studies, they also disseminate their knowledge through outreach programs. All scientific research conducted at the Arecibo Observatory is published in the relevant journals, and the Arecibo Observatory fan site translates the most important of these into language more easily understood by the layperson.
For ten weeks every summer a program for undergraduate students who are US citizens enrolled in a course of undergraduate studies for the fall of the year they wish to be considered for the summer programs offered by the staff at the observatory. Typically there are ten students who are lucky enough to be chosen for a place on one of these programs. One or two graduate students are also offered places on these programs, and these graduates have to be enrolled on courses at US universities, but do not necessarily have to be US citizens. However undergraduate students, to be eligible for consideration for the program must be US citizens or long-term residents of the US. The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center offers on-site accommodation to student program participants, as well as a round-trip air ticket and stipends of $4500 for undergraduates and $4800 for graduates. Apart from studying at this unique facility program participants get to see the culture of the people of Puerto Rico and gain an insight into the lives of these close neighbors.
Students who are accepted onto these summer programs receive tuition from the scientist based permanently at the facility as well as from the visiting scientists who are working there at the time. This is an exciting opportunity to meet with and exchange ideas with some of the world’s most eminent scientists. Students who wish to apply for these coveted places should be studying astronomy or physics and have a good background in maths. They are given the background to the major areas of research undertaken at the observatory and usually have the opportunity to conduct their own independent group observations and experiments using the telescope.
What is important about this facility is the character of inter-disciplinary research which is undertaken at it. Students get to have hands-on experience of experiments in the state-of-the-art laboratories, and the chance to have many informal discussions with the staff who work permanently at the Observatory. All this as well as the seminars and lectures organized for them should give them the motivation and encouragement they need, as well as the confidence to pursue their own independent studies and to further their understanding both of their chosen field of study and of the international scientific community.
The observatory also offers tours to the general public, and there is a platform which allows people to view the installations at the site from above.
Some photographs of the Arecibo Observatory can be seen at the Arecibo Observatory’s Fan Site and if you are interested in the work of the observatory, you should certainly check it out and even can be a part of them by contributing in new discoveries and scientific analysis.