UCLA campus

PHOTO (above): UCLA, located in the heart of the Los Angeles area, is one of the oldest universities in California. It is home to a wide range of academic endeavors, including the Physics and Astronomy department, within which CHAMP scholars will work with Prof. Furlanetto and his team.

Radio Astronomy Research at UCLA

At UCLA, Prof. Steve Furlanetto’s group contributes to the theoretical analysis of forthcoming HERA observations. These measurements - which will be purely statistical - provide precise astrophysical constraints only through comparison to theoretical models. It is therefore essential that such models be as accurate, and computationally efficient, as possible. CHAMP scholars at UCLA will learn state-of-the-art computational methods to describe the “reionization” process (the landmark event that HERA will observe, when light from young galaxies ionized nearly all the hydrogen gas in the Universe) and other key events in the history of our Universe. Scholars will then use these methods to explore the rich variety of physical processes important during this era and improve our implementation of them for the most effective HERA analysis.

EOR simulation
A key component of analyzing HERA observations will be the comparison with models of the early universe. This is especially important because HERA will make statistical measurements. Shown here is a large computer simulation of the “reionization” process, when early stars produce high-energy photons that ionize the hydrogen gas in the low-density medium between galaxies. This slice (near the midpoint of the process) shows the characteristic “bubble” distribution that develops according to state-of-the-art models, with white corresponding to ionized regions and black to the neutral gas that remains between them. CHAMP scholars will work with Dr. Furlanetto’s team to sharpen these models and integrate them into HERA’s analysis.

Program Details

What is it?

Students will begin the summer attending a one week radio astronomy “boot camp” designed to give them some of the skills they will need to succeed in their research. They will then work for the next 9 weeks with faculty and staff at UCLA on HERA-related projects.

Selected students will receive a $6000 stipend for the full 10 weeks. In addition, participants will be provided with housing and will be reimbursed for travel from home or campus to southern California.

Who should apply?

Applicants must be at least 18 years of age by the beginning of the program. They must be enrolled in one of the CAMPARE participating institutions at the time of their application. Participants should not have graduated from their 4-year institution before the beginning of the summer internship. Community college students in the process of transferring to a 4-year institution are eligible to apply.

All applicants must have completed a minimum of one full year of college-level physics by the start of the program.

When and How to Apply

Applications are due February 1, 2022. To apply to the program, follow the Application Instructions.

In addition, you must ask two faculty members (or others familiar with your academic or work background) to submit letters of reference using the link on the application instructions page. Indicate their names, addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses in your on-line application where appropriate. It is your responsibility to confirm that these letters have been sent and failure to obtain these two letters will render your application incomplete and lead to its rejection without review.

Successful students will be notified in March. The research program runs Monday, June 6, to Friday, August 12, 2022 (10 weeks). Participants must be available during the entire 10-week period of the program.


This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grants DUE-1741863, AST-1636646, and AST-1836019.