Summer Science Program now underway at NM Tech, June 21, 2006

by Summer Science Program

SOCORRO, N.M., June 21, 2006 -- Three dozen of the world’s top high school science students from 15 states and three foreign countries have converged on the New Mexico Tech campus for the Summer Science Program (SSP).

For the next six weeks, they will spend their days in college-level lectures, and their nights imaging and measuring the speck of light from a distant asteroid. This is the fourth summer that the research university in Socorro has sponsored and hosted the Summer Science Program’s second campus; the original campus in California has operated every summer since 1959.

Working in teams of three, students will observe an asteroid several times using two telescopes at New Mexico Tech’s Etscorn Campus Observatory, measure its position precisely relative to nearby stars, then calculate its orbit using software they write themselves in the university’s Weir Hall computer labs.

SSP students find that this intense research experience gives them crucial inspiration and preparation to major in physical science or engineering at leading universities. Many alumni have called it “the educational experience of a lifetime.”

SSP students find themselves in close contact with university professors and illustrious guest speakers, an opportunity that may not come again until they reach graduate school. They will also enjoy behind-the-scenes tours of nearby research and historic sites, such as Tech’s Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center, the Very Large Array, and Trinity Site.

“We’re very happy to be back for our fourth summer at New Mexico Tech. Everyone here is extremely supportive, and the facilities are perfect for our program,” said Richard Bowdon, SSP Executive Director. “It’s also notable that we have enrolled eight New Mexican students this year. New Mexico residents participate at no cost; while others pay a program fee, unless they qualify for need-based aid.”

SSP is operated by an independent non-profit corporation. Find complete information at www.summerscience.org.