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Director's Office > Office of Diversity and Inclusion > Broader Impact > Physics Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Investigating the Cosmos

Physics Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Investigating the Cosmos

The Physics Inspiring the Next Generation (PING): Investigating the Cosmos is a collaboration between the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP), the Green Bank Observatory (GBO), the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI) to expose traditionally underrepresented minorities to science and engineering with a focus on physics and radio-astronomy.

Launched in 2014, the PING program focuses on multiple levels of the physics and astronomy pipeline, and includes a two week summer program designed to expose middle school students to the fields of physics and astronomy, and an eight-ten week program designed to cultivate interest in physics and (radio) astronomy research for undergraduate students.

PING at the Green Bank Observatory

There are two levels of student involvement in the PING program:

  • Undergraduate Internships provide stipends to undergraduate students for an 8-10 week experience at the Green Bank Observatory (GBO). Selected students will conduct research with a GBO science mentor, and will, in turn, participate in education and public outreach by serving as mentors for the rising 9th-graders at the PING Summer Camp. PING internships are designed to broaden students' skill sets, opening the doors for future employment and academic opportunities.  Applications PING internships are accepted through the NRAO Summer Student Program portal. The deadline for Summer, 2017 applications is February 1, 2017.
  • PING Summer Camp. Rising 9th graders will be on location at the Green Bank Observatory for two weeks, and will be immersed in the research activities of this national research center. While in residence, students will work in small teams supported by an undergraduate student mentor and a staff scientist (astronomer, physicist, engineer, etc.) to conduct research by observing the universe with a 40-foot diameter radio telescope.  Supplemental educational activities, including bench experiences building electronic circuits, and coding activities complement the primary research theme. In addition, fun whole group activities like swimming, hiking, and biking take place on the GBO campus under the supervision of staff.  For more information, including application instructions, please see our PING Summer Camp site.

While the program targets specifically two White House initiatives, My Brother's Keeper which is working to address the education needs of young men of color, and a second effort to promote interest in science among girls, all current 8th graders are welcome to apply.

For more information about the PING program, please contact sheather@nrao.edu.


Sue Ann Heatherly, PING Program Manager