Research Projects by Subject

Note: Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors. Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.

Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Intel Science Talent Search competition.

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-01 Title: Surface Compositions of Red Giant Stars in Globular Clusters
Primary mentor: Marie Wingyee Lau
Faculty advisor: Prof. Graeme Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Globular clusters are collections of 10^3 to 10^6 old stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies. Within a globular cluster, the stars have usually formed at the same time out of material in the same nebula, with rather small chemical composition variations across stars of similar luminosities. The SIP interns and mentors on this research project will study the chemical compositions of the surface of red giant stars in globular clusters. While some astronomers think that the small chemical composition variations across different red giants were already present in the material that the stars formed from, the mentors on this project contend the stars’ own evolution will also change the chemical compositions on their surfaces.

Tasks: The SIP interns will download spectroscopic data of red giant stars of ten globular clusters. The interns will then study whether the oxygen and sodium abundances correlate with luminosities of the stars, which will be an evidence of stellar evolution effects. We will make use of the results from the SIP interns from last year, when we studied another ten globular clusters. If the oxygen or sodium abundance seems to depend on luminosity, the SIP interns will further quantify how strong the dependence is through running statistical tests. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-02 Title: Study of White Dwarf Stars in the Disk and Halo of our Milky Way Galaxy
Primary mentor: Emily Cunningham
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Madison Harris
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: White dwarf (WD) stars represent the final phase in the life of solar-mass stars as they fade into oblivion. The extreme low luminosity of WDs means that most detailed measurements of such stars are limited to samples in our immediate neighborhood in the thin disk of the Milky Way galaxy. The mentor is conducting the HALO7D survey, a survey of unprecedented depth of Sun-line main sequence turnoff stars in the Milky Way's outer halo using a combination of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images and Keck DEIMOS spectra. Faint WD stars are rare but useful by-products of this survey. They are identified by their relatively blue colors, large proper motion (both measured from the deep, multi-epoch HST images), and characteristic spectral Balmer absorption features (measured from Keck spectra). The WDs found in the HALO7D survey will yield new insights on the old stellar population associated with the Milky Way's thick disk and halo.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn about HST data and proper motion measurements derived from them. They will also learn about Keck DEIMOS spectra and the spectral characteristics of WD stars. The SIP interns will use the Python programming language to develop data analysis techniques for separating the WD population from the rest of the stars in the HALO7D sample. Finally, they will make radial velocity measurements and study the kinematics and spectral characteristics of the Milky Way thick disk and halo WD populations.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-03 Title: Galaxy Formation and Evolution: Comparing Supercomputer Simulations with Observations
Primary mentor: Christoph Lee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: -
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Recent observations by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) of galaxies in the process of formation compared with the mentor's group's supercomputer simulations have revealed unexpected aspects of galaxy evolution. It was generally thought that galaxies start as disks, that merging disk galaxies make stellar spheroids, and that larger disks can then form around these spheroids – bulges at the centers of disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. However, the HST observations are showing us that most galaxies start not as disks, but rather as elongated systems shaped like zucchinis or sausages. This is consistent with the mentors' simulations, which show that these elongated galaxies are oriented along the dark matter filaments of the Cosmic Web. Both simulations and observations indicate that most early star-forming galaxies have gigantic clumps of stars, hundreds or thousands of times more massive than the largest star-forming regions or globular clusters in the Milky Way or nearby galaxies, and that star-forming galaxies undergo "compaction" processes that make their centers so bright with new star formation that their visible size decreases. The mentors' are running many new simulations, and the SIP projects will be to analyze the simulations and compare them with the observations both by HST and ground-based observatories such as Keck. With a grant from Google, the mentors are using a convolutional neural net based machine learning method, also called Deep Learning, to analyze the simulation outputs and compare them with observations. The plan is to use observations to try to determine observational correlates of simulation phenomena, and SIP internship projects will be developed in this area that are at an appropriate level depending on the SIP interns’ capabilities.

Tasks: The SIP interns working will do analyses of the mentor's group's simulation outputs and compare them with astronomical observations. The interns will learn powerful computing and visualization tools, including using the mentors' Deep Learning code, and the interns will be welcome to use the UCSC Hyades astronomical supercomputer, the mentors' petabyte astro-data system and 3D AstroVisualization Lab.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-04 Title: What Happens Around Supermassive Black Holes
Primary mentor: Dr. Martin Gaskell
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Astronomers now believe that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole in its center. Because of the tremendous energy released as the black hole grows by swallowing gas, these black holes can be readily detected as so-called “active galactic nuclei” (AGNs) back to very early times in the Universe. The details of how supermassive black holes form and grow and how this is related to the formation of normal galaxies is one of the central mysteries of contemporary astrophysics. The mentor’s research group is analyzing spectra and spectral variability to try to understand how AGNs produce the intense radiation seen, what the structure of material around the black hole is like, and how supermassive black holes grow.

Tasks: SIP intern involvement in the project will consist of analyzing multi-wavelength spectral observations of relatively nearby actively accreting supermassive black holes to try to understand the emissions and how the black holes grow. This work will involve compiling data sets, applying corrections, making statistical estimates of parameters, and comparing the results with theoretical models of processes going on around black holes.

URL: http://campusdirectory.ucsc.edu/cd_detail?uid=mgaskell
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-05 Title: Ultraviolet Brightness of Solar-Like Stars
Primary mentor: Prof. Graeme Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Sun emits energy at far-ultraviolet wavelengths. This energy originates from a hot outer atmosphere. While the energy producing mechanism is still mysterious, it does appear to relate to the amount of magnetic activity that is occurring within the outer layers of the Sun. Theories of the strength of the Sun's outer magnetic field indicate that the field strength is likely to have varied significantly since the formation of the Sun. The young Sun is thought to have been much more magnetically active than at the present time. How can we test this theory? One method: there are a lot of stars out there that have masses and temperatures very similar to the Sun, but very different ages. We refer to such stars as "Solar analogs." The far-ultraviolet brightnesses of many such stars have been measured as a by-product of the mission of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (GALEX) in orbit around the Earth. This SIP project is aimed at compiling a database of  GALEX far-ultraviolet brightness measurements of Solar analog stars for which some independent information is known about the age of the star. The SIP interns can use these data to answer the question that is at the center of this project: Does the ultraviolet brightess of Solar analog stars change in a way that varies with the age of the star? If so, the project would obtain evidence that the magnetic fields in the atmospheres of Solar analog stars vary with stellar age. In a sense, this project would be using other Sun-like stars in the Galaxy to infer how the magnetic activity of the Sun has been changing since the formation of the Solar System.  

Tasks: GALEX data is available through a website hosted by the Space Telescope Science Institute. The SIP interns will use this website to compile lists of far ultraviolet brightness measurements for lists of Solar analog stars that will be provided by the mentor. In addition, the SIP interns will also collect other data for the stars  that can also be conveniently obtained through internet data bases. With the data in hand, the SIP interns will calculate ratios that compare the far ultraviolet brightess of each star to the brightness at visible wavelengths. Such ratios can then be graphed against stellar age to search for correlations and trends. This project will introduce SIP interns to some of the most fundamental properties of stars that astronomers study.

URL: http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/profiles/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=ghsmith
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON REM ON ON OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-06 Title: Population Study of VERITAS Gamma Ray Burst Follow-up Observations
Primary mentor: Skyler Scott
Faculty advisor: Prof. David A. Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous source of high-energy gamma rays observed to date, and, in terms of total electromagnetic power output,  are among the most energetic astrophysical phenomena currently known. The origin of GRBs is thought to be the core-collapse supernovae of hyper-massive stars or the merger of two compact objects, such as a pair of neutron stars. Though GRBs are routinely detected by the by spaced-based instruments, such as the Swift BAT and Fermi GBM in the hard x-ray and low-energy gamma-ray wavebands, a statistically significant detection of very-high-energy (VHE; E > 200 GeV) radiation remains elusive. The VHE astrophysics group at UCSC (PI: David Williams) participates in a collaboration that operates VERITAS, a ground-based gamma-ray observatory located at Whipple Observatory in Arizona. VERITAS has performed 150 follow-up observations in the 200 GeV to 10 TeV waveband on GRBs originally detected by Swift or Fermi. About two thirds of these have precise locations identified on the sky from the satellite observations.

Tasks: The topic of this project is the study of these well-localized GRBs, both as individual observations and as a population. The primary goal of the SIP interns will be to obtain constraints on the amount of very-high-energy emission from this set of GRB observations. These constraints will then be used to evaluate the validity of the various proposed models for gamma-ray emission from GRBs, which is a topic of interest to both experimenters and theorists in the astrophysics community. The SIP interns will use the data analysis tools developed by the VERITAS collaboration in the framework of the ROOT analysis package developed at CERN for high energy physics and astrophysics.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-07 Title: A Redshift Survey of Galaxies and Quasars in the Background of the Andromeda Galaxy
Primary mentor: Namrata Roy
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Astronomers have carried out redshift surveys of distant galaxies to study the evolution of galaxy properties over cosmic time. The mentor's research team used the Keck II 10-meter telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph to carry out the SPLASH spectroscopic survey of stars in the Andromeda galaxy (M31), our nearest large galactic neighbor. An unintended by-product of the SPLASH survey is a spectroscopic redshift survey of a few thousand distant galaxies and quasars in the background of M31. What is special about these M31 background objects is, unlike other distant galaxy redshift survey targets, these objects are star-like in terms of their image morphology (compact angular sizes). It would be interesting to compare the physical properties of M31 background galaxies – e.g., redshift distribution, color-magnitude distribution, emission line strengths/ratios, etc. – to those of galaxies in other redshift surveys.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use spectral cross-correlation techniques to measure the redshifts of M31 background galaxies and quasars. The interns will also carry out a variety of other spectroscopic and photometric measurements. A comparative analysis of the properties of the SPLASH survey background galaxy/quasars sample with the galaxies/quasars in the DEEP2/DEEP3 redshift survey will be particularly relevant.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-08 Title: The Ages and Chemistry of Globular Clusters and Nuclear Star Clusters
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Elisa Toloba, Sungsoon Lim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Globular clusters (GCs) are dense collections of ~100,000 stars that are bound to each other by their own gravity. The mentors' group has obtained spectra of hundreds of GCs in the Virgo cluster of galaxies, the nearest galaxy cluster to the Milky Way. Some of these GCs are satellites of known galaxies, while some are "orphans", free-floating among the galaxies themselves. The group has also observed many nuclear star clusters (NSCs), similar to globular clusters, but more massive and at the centers of galaxies. Both NSCs and "orphan" GCs could have their origins in satellite GCs, the former due to GC inspiral, and the latter if GCs are tidally stripped off of their hosts. The goal of this project is to use the spectroscopy of these three kinds of star clusters to compare the ages, metallicities, and chemical abundances of these three groups to see how related they may be.

Tasks: Because the individual spectra have relatively low signal-to-noise, the SIP interns will selectively combine the spectra of similar objects. On these "stacked" spectra, they will then be able to measure absorption line strengths and compare them to stellar population models, and also directly to other stacked spectra. They will compared the stacked spectra of satellite GCs with those of NSCs and orphans to see if their properties point to a common or different origin.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-09 Title: Spatial Substructure in the M87 Globular Cluster System
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Elisa Toloba, Sungsoon Lim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: One of the main predictions of living in a Universe dominated by cold dark matter is that galaxies should form through the continual merging and accretion of other smaller galaxies. Galaxies that form in this way should not be smooth, but rather be full of stellar streams, which are the shredded remnants of the smaller galaxies that merged in a long time ago. Globular clusters (GCs; small clusters of old stars that orbit about a galaxy) come in with these merged components, and are a tracer of galactic structure. A new data set containing thousands of GCs around the nearby massive galaxy, M87, presents a new opportunity to test whether galactic halos are smooth or as "lumpy" as expected from galaxy formation simulations.

Tasks: The SIP interns will analyze the spatial distribution of GCs around M87 and compare their real distribution to a theoretical "smooth" distribution. They will use tools to measure the large-scale GC distribution, and use that information to simulate a mock data set containing no substructure ("lumpiness"). They will also use visual inspection to mask regions with no data, or regions of known structure, applying these masks to the mock data set. The interns will use existing data (images, catalogs), but write their own computer programs to make the mock data set and do the statistical comparison. The SIP interns will also identify clusters of GCs in the data to look for new, heretofore undetected low surface brightness galaxies.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-10 Title: Globular Clusters in the Pandora Cluster of Galaxies from the Hubble Frontier Field Project
Primary mentor: Dr. Guillermo Barro
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Elisa Toloba, Sungsoon Lim, Eric Peng
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The goal of this project is to learn about the stellar content and chemical properties of globular clusters (GC; small groups of stars that orbit around a galaxy) in the Pandora cluster of galaxies, a large collection of gravitationally bound galaxies. GCs are fossil records of the violent interactions that shaped these massive clusters and the galaxies in them. With this study, the SIP interns and their mentor will gain new insight into galaxy cluster formation processes.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use the deepest images of galaxy clusters that the Hubble Space Telescope has ever taken – the so-called Hubble Frontier Fields. The mentor's team has catalogs of all the objects found in these very deep images. The SIP interns will use these catalogs to distinguish between different kinds of objects: galaxies in the cluster, galaxies in the background of the cluster, and GCs in the cluster. Once the samples are separated, the student will analyze the properties of these GCs using density plots, color-magnitude diagrams, and color-color diagrams.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-11 Title: Characterizing the Performance of Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes for Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Primary mentor: Caitlin Johnson
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) are designed to record faint flashes of light produced in the Earth's atmosphere by the interactions of high-energy particles. These flashes are extended on the sky, and the telescope systems are optimized with that in mind. An optical flash from an extraterrestrial intelligence would similarly be a faint flash in the sky, but from a point source, rather than an extended one. IACTs have large mirror collection areas, giving them good sensitivity in principle to such faint flashes, but whether they would actually record them depends on the details of how the light illuminates the telescope cameras. In this project, the SIP interns and the mentor will use existing data from the VERITAS array of IACTs to study the camera response to stars, which are also point sources, in order to characterize how the telescopes would perform in an optical search for extraterrestrial intelligence (OSETI).

Tasks: The VERITAS telescopes are optimized to record light that falls across at least three pixels. This means that they are not optimized to detect point sources, such as stars, which likely cast light onto fewer than three pixels. The overarching goal of this project is to study what scenarios are possible for detecting point sources within the current VERITAS configuration. The SIP interns will need to study what quantities (e.g., star brightness or position on the camera) are important and impact the ability to make these detections. The interns will use pixel-level information about data taken by the VERITAS telescopes to work on their studies. The data have stars in the field of view which will allow the interns to study how light from the star is distributed across multiple pixels, the location in the camera, and how these change throughout an observation. The interns will download the pixel-level information from the VERITAS database and complete their studies using Python and geometry routines. No prior knowledge of programming is required, but interns will come away from the project having learned and used Python and MySQL.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-12 Title: Observational Biases in Tests of Gamma-Ray Attenuation, Continued
Primary mentor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 1

Project description: Very-high-energy gamma rays from extragalactic astrophysical sources are attenuated by collisions with ultraviolet, optical, and infrared photons from stars. This starlight is known as the extragalactic background light (EBL) and is difficult to measure because of the Sun and the Milky Way. Models estimating the EBL use theoretical predictions of the rate of star formation or observational data on the number of galaxies as a function of luminosity. Some recent papers (e.g., Galanti et al. 2015, http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.04436; Rubtsov and Troitsky, http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.0239) have claimed that the gamma-ray data are not in good agreement with the best models, and that a new axion-like particle may be needed to explain the data.

Tasks: This project is for the continuation of work by a SIP intern that worked previously on the project during the 2016 edition of SIP. The SIP intern will work with the mentor to improve the models of the population of gamma-ray-emitting sources and combine them with better information on the sensitivity of the gamma-ray instruments, to study whether the observed disagreements could arise because all sources are not equally easy to detect.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF REM REM ON ON ON ON OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-13 Title: Mining for Galaxy Properties with MaNGA
Primary mentor: Dr. Kyle Westfall
Other mentors: Kevin Bundy
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: As part of the fourth phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-IV), MaNGA (Mapping Nearby Galaxies at APO) will be the largest survey of galaxies that uses a technique called integral-field spectroscopy. This technique effectively provides images of each observed galaxy at more than 4500 different optical and near-infrared wavelengths.  The science being done with these data are as varied as the data itself, ranging from understanding the impact of energetic winds from star formation and active galactic nuclei to modeling the motions of gas and stars to determine the gravitational masses and dark-matter fractions of galaxies. The mentor of this project is the lead developer of the software that measures numerous properties, such as the content and kinematics of the stellar and ionized-gas components, in each galaxy. Performing robust analysis of the MaNGA spectroscopy is both incredibly important for the subsequent scientific inferences based on these data and incredibly difficult given the data volume and variety.

Tasks: Using both web-based visualization tools developed for interacting with MaNGA data and their own Python code, the SIP interns will assess the quality of the measurements made by the mentor's software. In addition to a statistical quality control of the measurements, these assessments will allow the interns to search for unique objects and serendipitous discoveries for follow-up analysis, such as supernovae and gravitational lenses that happen to be in the field-of-view of the observations. The interns will gain a broad understanding of integral-field spectroscopy, the measurements of interest to the forefront of galaxy evolution studies, and modern programming and statistical techniques used by astronomers to perform and assess these measurements.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-14 Title: Decoding Galaxy UVJ Colors: Investigating their Dependence on Star-formation Rates
Primary mentor: Dr. Hassen Yesuf
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sandy Faber
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Most galaxies fall into one of two classes: blue star-forming galaxies and red quiescent galaxies. In this project, the mentor and interns will further examine a well-studied and powerful tool callled the UVJ diagram in the context of the study of galaxy demographics and evolution, especially in the distant Universe (e.g., see Fig. 2 of this paper: http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/2041-8205/748/2/L27/pdf). The name "UVJ" derives from a two-color plot, where "color" is the difference in apparent magnitudes (brightnesses) of a galaxy in two different filter bandpasses: visible/green optical (V band) minus near infrared (J band) versus ultraviolet (U band) minus optical (V-band). Quiescent galaxies are brighter in near infrared than optical but are fainter in UV than optical, meaning they have redder U–V and V–J colors. On the other hand, star-forming galaxies with little or no interstellar dust are brighter in UV than optical and near infrared; i.e., they are bluer in both colors. If a star-forming galaxy is dusty, dust will absorb the UV light and make the galaxy appear redder but not as red as quiescent galaxies. Thus there is a lot of information in this simple plot. A recent PhD student in the mentor's group discovered even more regularity in this UVJ diagram. He showed that the location of an object in UVJ space is determined by its star-formation rate (SFR: the mass of stars that form in a galaxy per year). In this project, the mentor and interns will further build on this PhD work by using more accurate (spectroscopically based) SFR indicators. The project will be based on high quality but previously unexplored spectroscopic data for this project, gathered by the mentor's team and others.

Tasks: In addition to learning about the nature of distant galaxies, the SIP interns will learn how to: (1) read and manipulate data in Python (including Pandas' library) and make measurements by fitting curves and stellar population models; (2) present analysis using visualizations tools in Python (Matplotlib & Seaborn); (3) learn and implement basic and advanced statistical techniques and tools; and (4) learn from reading advanced Python codes (toolkits) written by others. The mentor will emphasize deep and thorough learning of the analysis tools as opposed to the mere use of existing tools as black boxes.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON