Reports and Deadlines

Three Week Report

Due to Gwen via email by 5PM on Monday, July 9th

The purpose of this report is to:
  1. practice your scientific writing
  2. facilitate communication with your mentor(s) about your project
  3. help you to develop a "game plan" for the summer
  4. clarify in your mind the reason you are working on your project and how that fits into the broader scientific goals of your field of inquiry.
This report should be typed, 2-3 pages. Please include:
  1. a title, your name, and the name of your mentor(s)
  2. an introduction with some of the background information about your project. What is the motivation for your project?
  3. a discussion of your project: What are the questions you'll be trying to answer? Why are those questions interesting? How do they fit into the background information in the introduction.
  4. a discussion of the progress you have made so far and any difficulties you are having currently or expect to encounter. 
Please include references in the text and a references/works cited section at the end. You should be in contact with your mentor about this report, and you should send a copy of it to them for comments and implement their comments in advance of the deadline. If you are a Caltech SURF student, please also turn in the report to the SURF office as they request.

American Astronomical Society (AAS) Abstract and Title

Due to Gwen via email and your advisor(s) by 5PM on Monday, August 6th
This is a draft title and abstract which you can update as needed throughout the program and then submit to the AAS bny October 3rd to apply to give a poster presentation at their January 2019 meeting in Seattle. Your abstract and title must meet AAS standards (taken from their webpage): 
"The abstract body text can be a maximum of 2,250 characters (which includes letters, numbers, punctuation, spacing, returns, and symbols/special characters.)" 
The Professional Development session on Tuesday, August 2nd will cover more tips about writing an abstract. Please have your advisor review a draft of the abstract before you submit the final copy to Gwen. 

Draft AAS Poster

Due to Gwen 5PM on Wednesday, August 15th
A draft of your AAS Poster ready to print for a practice presentation on Friday, August 17th. Remember that most of the content of this poster is the same as what is in your final report and will be in your final symposium talk. A workshop about presenting scientific results with posters will be given the week of August 6-10th to help you begin the process of assembling a poster draft. You will be able to make revisions to this poster before you present it at the AAS.

The AAS require all posters fit within a 44" x44" space. 

In case anyone is drawing a blank, here are some examples of posters for inspiration. Some good things to think about when making your poster (and also your final report and talk):


  • How does your project fit into the wider subject area in astronomy?
  • What question does your project address?
  • Briefly describe your methods including discussing limitations and uncertainties in the analysis.
  • Discuss results from your study and their implications for the question posed.
  • What questions remain after this analysis or next steps would you envision to continue addressing the question posed. 

Poster design:

  • Try to design the order or format of the poster to flow with the logic of the problem. 
  • Plots and visualizations need to be sized correctly. All axes should be labeled (including units where appropriate). Other visualizations should be appropriately labeled.
  • Captions for the figure should explain the figure clearly and should make a claim or provide a "take home point" for the poster viewer
  • Section headings should be descriptive. For example: "Measuring the redshift of galaxies" rather than "Analysis"


Final Report

A first draft is due to your advisor(s) via email by 5PM on Thursday, August 9th.
The draft should be revised based on their feedback and submitted to Gwen by 5PM on Thursday, August 16th.
The final draft is due on Thursday, August 23th to both Gwen and your advisor(s).
This report should be typed between 4-8 pages in length. Please include:
  1. A title, your name, and the names of your advisor(s)
  2. An abstract, updated as needed since the one turned in during week 8. 
  3. An introduction providing the background and motivation for your project. Much of this text may be updated and used from your 3 week report as needed. 
  4. A discussion of what you did (a methods/results section).
  5. Several figures and captions that explain your figures and make an argument based off them.
  6.  Any conclusions you have come to.
  7. Citations and a works cited section. Please use ApJ format when possible.