One of the unfortunate realities about astrophysics is that the current population of astrophysicists does not reflect the US population as a whole.  This means that there are many groups that are underrepresented in the astronomical community.  These groups are reservoirs of talent--science would benefit greatly by their participation.  More generally, there is still a strong need to increase the scientific literacy of the population as a whole. 

In order to generate the excitement that is necessary for young people to learn science (and perhaps pursue a career in science), one must reach the student's imagination.  The best way to do this is by involving them in research projects.  There is nothing quite lie the feeling of discovering something new to inspire a prospective scientist. For this reason, we have begun a program to mentor students in local high schools by having them undertake small research projects in areas of astrophysics and astronomy that interest them.  In the course of carrying out these projects, the students learn a whole host of skills, from practical thinking to project organization, from computer programming to basic physics.  The goal of the projects is not necessarily to produce a published result (although that is a possible outcome), but to give the students experience in the process of research. 

As an example, one recent project involved measuring the distance and brightness distribution of asteroids discovered in the DeepLens Survey images. Although the program is available to students from all high schools in Providence and the surrounding communities,  we are especially interested in promoting excitement about science in those communities where it is least available.   If you are interested in participating in this program, please contact me via e-mail at ian at or by phone at (401)-863-1154.

Public Outreach/Observing

Brown University is blessed in having a classic 19th century observatory, Ladd Observatory. Every clear Tuesday night, Ladd is open to the public for astronomical observing.  In the near future, a regular program of lectures and talks will be offered to enhance the educational aspects of the public night (and also to provide some cloudy-weather activities!)

Finally, as part of the public outreach part of the Deep Lens Survey program, we are collaborating with the Hands/On Universe project to provide access to research quality astronomical images and data to a much larger audience, and thus promote independent discovery of the cosmos.

Hands/On Universe

Project-based high school outreach

Outreach Activities

Graduate Outreach

Our graduate students are also directly involved in outreach. Paul is a recipient of the GK-12 Fellowship and teaches Physics at Hope High School in Providence. As part of this fellowship he provides lessons and demonstrations as well as field trips to the Ladd Observatory.

       The Group

Prof. Ian Dell’antonio

Room 528

Van Dao

Graduate Student (Rm 717)

Paul Huwe

Graduate Student (Rm 717)

Richard Cook

Graduate Student (Rm 717)

Ryan Michney

Graduate Student (Rm 717)


Contact Us:

Department of Physics

Brown University

Box 1843

184 Hope Street,

Providence RI 02912