A Meeting of the Minds

    The wide range of expertise and work at the Observatories as well as regular visitors from the broader scientific community in Pasadena and beyond ensure the grounds are regularly filled with interesting conversations.

    The Observatories campus in Pasadena is a unique space where people can show off their scientific work using cutting edge visualization technology, see the fabrication and assembly of new instrumentation, and catch up on reading in the 100-year-old Hale library all in one afternoon.

    From large gatherings in our auditorium to casual hallway conversations our staff regularly meet to discuss work and socialize. In addition to more formal presentations at our regular colloquia our staff and guests also present their work at informal lunch talks and morning discussions over tea. At lunch people regularly gather at our outdoor tables in the regularly pleasant southern California weather. Typically folks gather on Friday afternoons for an end-of-week social hour in our courtyard to talk shop over snacks and drinks.
    Observatories postdocs pose with dog

    Postdoctoral Programs

    Carnegie Observatories operates several post-doctoral fellowship programs in observational and theoretical astronomy and instrumentation. All fellows are empowered to pursue independent research on the topics of their choice. Fellows enjoy access to all of Carnegie’s observing facilities in Chile on the same basis as the scientific staff. 

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    A group dedicated to advancing girls in STEM fields tours the Observatories machine shop.

    Outreach & Education

    The Observatories maintain an active public outreach program designed to share our work with the general public, provide science education activities and resources for students and educators, and to connect our scientists with communities in Pasadena, Los Angeles, and beyond.

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    Raised hands

    DEI Efforts

    The Carnegie Observatories  is committed to creating an inclusive environment for every member of our community. Our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee works to develop a range of resources and programs to ensure that our campus is a welcoming workplace for everyone. 

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    Summer students at Mt. Wilson Observatory

    Our Summer Student Program

    CASSI interns participate in an educational program that includes over 60 activities designed to improve students' fluency and ease with scientific communication and scientific computing. At the end of the summer, nine out of 10 CASSI interns feel more comfortable presenting their research than they did at the start of the program and 10 out of 10 feel more prepared for future work in astronomy.

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    What Our Summer Students Say

    It was the first time I could talk to a professional in the field about their day-to-day experiences and figure out what was of the greatest interest to me. Carnegie is really a unique place in that way. This culture was a huge factor in my decision to apply to graduate school.

    Emmanuel Durodola Former CASSI Student

    CASSI enabled me to envision myself as part of a community. Having an open-door policy meant I could just pop in and ask anybody questions. And now I still keep in touch with these people in various ways.

    Sal Fu Former CASSI Student

    In a typical classroom, everything works. If something doesn't, you are doing it wrong. That's the expectation. But research is a totally different beast where things tend to go in unexpected directions, not because you did something wrong, but because there are no right vs wrong answers anymore. And I think that is very important for young scientists like myself to know and embrace.

    Pei Qin Former CASSI Student
    Summer students interviewed for local news story.
    Summer students lead STEM activity.
    Summer students help out during outreach event in Los Angeles.
    Gwen Rudie

    arXiv Tea

    Scientists at the Observatories meet nearly daily for wide-ranging discussions on new and in-progress science at arXiv Tea. Think “discussion” rather than a formal “talk”: Observatories scientists and visitors are encouraged to discuss new results or in-progress work.

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    Campus Culture News Highlights