Graduating this semester?

If you have not already done so, please make an appointment with me to receive a Major Program Form, which lists the courses we list as counting toward you degree.  You’ll need this form when you file for graduation.  This also applies to those who are in a minor program in Astronomy and Astrophysics.

And … most importantly … congratulations!  I’d be delighted to hear in the comments below what you are planning (or hoping for) after you graduate.



Summer research in the astronomical sciences

The National Science Foundation provides support for undergraduate research at many institutions across the country.  At their site, you can see a list of supported programs for 2019.  There is a great variety of programs in all sorts of areas, from imaging and computation, solar and stellar physics, planetary sciences, to extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

Undergraduate research is increasingly a must-have for graduate school, and many employers in STEM fields or the data sciences want you to have a solid research-oriented internship.

Please carefully check out the various programs before applying to see any eligibility criteria, what materials are required, and (above all) when the application deadlines are!  (Some of these are pretty soon….)

These are typically highly competitive programs, but don’t talk yourself out of applying.  Most places look for people from all sorts of backgrounds and experience, and don’t just rank people by GPA.  And somebody has to give you your first chance!

I would be very happy to use the comment thread on this post for people to ask questions about application strategies, how to write a good application letter, how to select people to write letters of reference.  I have lots of opinions (and experience!) about those matters, but I would rather the discussion be student-driven than to come down to you from on high.

In case you missed it, Astronomy recently announced the competition for our summer research program.

Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at Ohio State

The Department of Astronomy and the Center for Cosmology and Astroparticle Physics are pleased to announce the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Program in Astrophysics (SURP).

This program provides a 12-week paid internship in research or education under the supervision of a faculty member or postdoctoral fellow.  The 2019 program will run from May 8 until July 26.

Full details, including criteria for eligibility, are included in the above link.  The application deadline is Monday, February 11, 2019.  (Note that the deadline is earlier than it was in previous years.)

Write to me any time if you have questions about the program.


Happy New Year!

I hope it’s a happy, peaceful, and healthy year for all of you!

As for me, I spent about half the break nursing a shocking cold.  Well, forced rest is still rest, I figure.

Coming shortly, announcements for summer research opportunities!

Undergrad summer research at Caltech

Caltech, like many places of prominence, has a problem.  Many people who would be perfectly at home there, and who could bring strong talents and creativity, will talk themselves out of applying.  Here are two announcement for summer research at Caltech.  First, WAVE fellows.

The WAVE Fellows program aims to foster diversity by increasing the participation of underrepresented students in science and engineering Ph.D. programs and to make Caltech’s programs more visible and accessible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. The program is extended, but not limited, to underrepresented minorities, women, first-generation college students, geographically underrepresented students, educationally and financially disadvantaged students, and students with disabilities.  

Eligibility: Students must be current sophomores through non-graduating seniors and must be U.S. citizens, U.S. permanent residents, or students with DACA status. A minimum GPA of 3.2 is required.

Competitive applicants will have completed sophomore-level courses in desired research field, have demonstrated through academic and/or co-curricular activities a passion for research, and can articulate how their research interests align with Caltech’s research areas. The most competitive applicants will have prior research experience.

Support: WAVE Fellows will receive a $6350 award for the ten-week program. An additional housing/travel supplement will be provided.

Application: Online applications are due January 12, 2019.

For more information, visit

Second, the SURF program, which means Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships

The Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) program is one of the “crown jewels” of Caltech. Since 1979, SURF students have had the opportunity to conduct research under the guidance of experienced mentors working at the frontier of their fields. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity from beginning (defining and developing a project) to end (presenting their results at SURF Seminar Day).

For this program, the interested student has to contact a potential research advisor and propose a project.  Full details are found at   Read all the material carefully, since the application process is more complex than for other summer programs.  The deadline for applying is February 22, 2019.

Graduate Study at the University of Illinois

I get lots and lots of email.  This one is about a very good program.  Some students of my close collaborators have gone there and have had a good experience.

The Department of Astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign would like to broadly advertise our graduate program to undergraduates at your institution.

Students from traditionally underrepresented groups in the physical sciences are especially encouraged to apply. The Physics GRE is not required. The application deadline is January 15, 2019.

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Department of Astronomy hosts vibrant research programs that span cosmology, compact objects, galaxies, stars, and planets. Survey science, data-intensive astronomy, and computational astrophysics are particular departmental and campus strengths. Illinois is an institutional member of the Dark Energy Survey (DES), the South Pole Telescope (SPT), and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO). Illinois is the global central hub for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), hosting the data archive and playing a central role in data processing and analysis. The Astronomy Department has strong ties to the highly-ranked departments of Physics and Chemistry, the College of Engineering, and the National Center for Supercomputing Application (NCSA). 

More information about our program can be found at   


Undergrad scholarship for students of Polish descent

There are always a lot more scholarships available than you might think.  Here’s an announcement for one, taken from an email I recently received.

The Kościuszko Foundation administers a $5,000 scholarship for undergraduate students of Polish descent.  Please pass on this information to possible candidates as well as faculty and staff that may be in positions to further disseminate this information.

 Requirements of the “Drs. James and Wanda Trefil Science Scholarship” include:

  • Undergraduate student of Polish descent, US citizen or permanent resident
  • Outstanding promise in the natural sciences
  • Minimum 3.5 GPA

The deadline to apply online is January 15, 2019

Please be so kind as to forward the attached information to possible candidates.  The live link includes complete Requirements and Application:


Summer Internship in San Diego

Hi folks —

It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything … it’s been that sort of semester!

You’ll now be seeing a lot of announcements for jobs, summer research positions, and other opportunities.  Check these out!

Prof. Terndrup

Here’s an email I received recently.

I would like to inform your constituents about an exciting ten-week summer internship opportunity in the Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, in La Jolla, California.

Our internship program is a great opportunity for inquisitive and motivated undergraduate students with exceptional aptitude for quantitative science majoring in Oceanography, Applied Mathematics, Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Geology to work with some of the most notable scientists in the world while earning a modest salary. 

UCSD is an equal opportunity employer, with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity.

More information can be found on our website, where we will be accepting applications through 4 p.m. Pacific time on January 18, 2019. If you have any questions please contact me.

Eva Friedlander | Summer Internship Coordinator | Marine Physical Laboratory | UC San Diego Scripps Institution Of Oceanography | MC 0213 |

Note that Physics is one of the listed disciplines in this announcement.


Alpheus Smith Lecture – tomorrow

The Department of Physics presents the 56th annual Alpheus Smith Lecture.  This takes place tomorrow, October 17, at 8:00 p.m., in 131 Hitchcock Hall at 2070 Neil Avenue.

The speaker is Nobel Laureate Dr. Rainer Weiss.  He will speak on “Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves”

“Exploration of the Universe with Gravitational Waves” investigates the universe with multi-messenger astronomy.  Gravitational waves allow for novel observation of the universe’s phenomena, as well as the ability to test general relativity in the limit of strong gravitational interactions.  The lecture defines basic concepts of gravitational waves and describes various methods for data analysis that enable the measurement of certain gravitational wave strains before presenting the results of recent runs.  The lecture concludes with a vision for the future of gravitational wave astrophysics and astronomy.

The lecture is free and open to the public.  These are usually great talks, and I encourage you to attend.




Masters and Ph.D. studies in Chile

Just saw this on Facebook.  (Yes, I look at Facebook once in a while.)

For anyone with students looking to move into grad school soon, and who would like to do so in Chile, our call for applicants to the Ph.D and Masters program at the Universidad de Chile is open. Deadline is the 4th of November. You can find more details here:

I loved my years working in Chile, and I aim to spend about six weeks in Santiago in May – June, 2019.  Write to me if you want more details.