4th Summer on Astrophysics Research (VIAI 2024)


Santa María Tonantzintla, Puebla, May 20, 2024. The National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), a center of the National Council of Humanities, Sciences and Technologies (Conahcyt), calls on the students of the last year or who have just completed a degree in Physics, Mathematics, Engineering or related areas in institutions in Mexico, to participate in the fourth edition of the INAOE Astrophysics Research Summer (VIAI).

The VIAI will take place from June 16 to July 6 in INAOE at Tonantzintla, Puebla, reports Dr. Olga Vega, INAOE researcher and one of the organizers of the event.

The origin of the VIAI, Olga Vega explains, is the radio astronomy workshops, which were dedicated to millimeter astronomy, and now the VIAI includes all branches of astronomy. These events have borne fruit, since some of the participants in them are now graduate students at INAOE and other institutions.

For scientists of the Astrophysics Department of INAOE and members of the Summer Organizing Committee, the VIAI seeks to ensure that students who plan to do a postgraduate degree in Astrophysics know first-hand what it means to work in the field of scientific research.

“The point is letting them know what they are getting into. Many tell us that they did not imagine that research would be this hard, because the master's degree is very hard. This will give them an idea. During three weeks they will be working all day and they will also have observations with José Ramón Valdés or with Miguel Chávez, at the VIAI they work a lot and they like it," says Dr. Vega.

The VIAI offers participants the possibility of joining an INAOE research group to develop a project, and the possibility to work with the databases of some of the most important telescopes in the world such as the Large Millimeter Telescope Alfonso Serrano (GTM), the Gran Telescopio Canarias and HAWC, a gamma ray observatory in Puebla. They will learn analysis, theory and practices. The program of activities includes a workshop on research and scientific ethics as well as night observations.

The VIAI, says Dr. Divakara Mayya, guides students who want to pursue a master's degree: “In this way they will be prepared to make decisions about whether this is what they want to do in the future. VIAI will be their first contact with real research, they will learn what it means to do research, because sometimes students come thinking that astronomy is like doing scientific dissemination, and we present them a broad overview.”

Dr. Abraham Luna Castellanos indicates: “The students will be here full-time for three weeks, so they will have an appropriate environment. Here they have breakfast, lunch and dinner, they have contact with researchers and their colleagues, I think it is the perfect setting to realize what one does when one is researching. This is very different from attending a course or an outreach talk or an online activity. The atmosphere is key. We need to select those who have a great attitude, vision and commitment to Astrophysics or to future research.”

Dr. Miguel Chávez Dagostino says that “the program is dense, they have little time for other things. They come from many parts of Mexico and I must say that some of the boys and girls later come to INAOE to continue their postgraduate studies, but I have known of other VIAI students who have entered the postgraduate programs of other institutions. The program has a series of courses that cover a wide spectrum of topics in Astrophysics, so if there is someone who is interested in cosmology, there will be someone to talk to them about the topic, or about stellar physics, exoplanets, star formation, etc. It is a wide spectrum of topics, the kids leave with a very broad panorama of what a career in the research area is. Here, they will be working on research projects that have been designed so that they can be feasible to carry out in the period of the school. Despite the academic weight, it is a very enriching experience, for them and us as well.”

Dr. Alfredo Montaña states that the VIAI also gives students the opportunity to learn about the lines of research that are developed not only in Astrophysics, but in other areas of INAOE such as Optics, Electronics and Computer Sciences, "they can see if there are other topics of their interest and that INAOE can be an option for a postgraduate degree. All the students have the opportunity to get to know INAOE and learn about all the options that the Institute offers in addition to Astrophysics.”

In the VIAI, Dr. Itziar Aretxaga offers a workshop on a career in science, how to make a resume and how to present a work.

Dr. José Ramón, chief of the Astrophysics Department at INAOE, states: “Part of what Itziar teaches is ethics in research, which is also a very important topic that must be taken up with the new generations.”

And he adds: “perhaps for the students the most interesting thing about VIAI is getting involved in research projects from the beginning to the development and results, because they can take a course anywhere, even online. If at the end of the day they are interested in doing a postgraduate degree, they already have an idea of ​​what they would come to INAOE for.”

To conclude, Dr. Olga Vega informs that to participate in the call the students must enter the VIAI website, register personal data such as name, surname, age and upload a document from the institution where they are studying or have studied. “Grades are not that important to us. We give greater weight to the motivational letter in which they must tell us what their interest is in coming to the school, what their motivation is to study astronomy. The letter has a weight of around 50 percent of the application, because this text tells us that they want to work and are passionate about what they do. Students who come do not have to pay anything. We don't want the funds to be a limitation.”

Space in VIAI is limited. The deadline for receiving documents is May 30. More information at https://www.inaoep.mx/~viai24/index.html

Last update:
22-05-2024 / 16:40 by Guadalupe Rivera Loy


Luis Enrique Erro # 1, Tonantzintla, Puebla, México, Código Postal 72840, Tel: (222) 266.31.00,  difusion@inaoep.mx

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