Join the PSC

Your discovery is here.

Our next Online Workshop begins January 12 with an online meeting with educators, followed by a six-week workshop for all students and teachers. Six weekly web-chats will be held on Thursdays at 7:00 PM Eastern.

The Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC),  (NSF awards: 1516512, 1516269) partners the National Radio Astronomy Observatory with West Virginia University  and 10 additional institutions of higher learning to provide high school students and their teachers with opportunities to practice 21st Century Skills while conducting world class research in pulsar astronomy. PSC club members join an international team of scientists who are analyzing hundreds of terabytes of data collected by the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope for the purpose of discovering new pulsars!

Why you should join:

  • Advance our knowledge of the Universe. PSC students and teachers have so far analyzed more than 2.2 million pieces of data! 7 new pulsars and one transient object have been discovered by PSC members.
  • Be part of a vibrant scientific community. Whether you are a teacher or a student, apprenticing in a worthwhile endeavour alongside professional astronomers helps boost your confidence that you CAN do scientific and engineering research.
  • Develop skills that will enable you to succeed in a STEM major in college. PSC members share their work with peers and professional scientists, and gain experience in scientific communication in the process.

We are going national with this program! Below see the locations of our 10 hub campuses. Each one of these colleges and universities offers faculty and student mentors to work with you, and a cool capstone event at the end of each year for active PSC members!

  • Teachers from all states are welcome to apply at this time. We are seeking high school science and math teachers, particularly teachers of general science, physical science and physics. We especially welcome applications from teachers who teach under-represented students. Teachers selected for the program will be expected to form and “coach” a PSC club consisting of high school students. We will also accept applications from middle school teachers who will be teaching 8th grade Earth Science.
  • High school students interested in joining  the PSC  directly may also complete the online application. We require students to obtain a teacher sponsor from their local high school to supervise their work. All participants must be 13 years old or older.
  • Undergraduate students interested in joining the PSC as a mentor should use this application form to apply. Once your account is activated, register here by choosing the registration category ‘Mentors’ to gain access to the website.

Program Components:

  • FREE Online workshop – Gain expertise in pulsar astronomy and  pulsar data analysis through six 1-hour online classes and offline homework taught by pulsar scientists, graduate students and educators on the PSC staff.  Once you have completed the workshop you will need to master two pulsar data sets to become full-fledged PSC members with access to data.
  • Academic Year Activities – Teachers and students will form a PSC club at their school or other venue. PSC teams will conduct original research by analyzing data from the GBT with the expectation of discovering new pulsars and characterizing changes in previously-known pulsars.
  • Annual PSC Capstone Seminar – Student/Teacher Teams will present their research, hear talks by professional astronomers, tour the STEM colleges within a near-by hub University or College and participate in fun STEM related activities at a PSC Seminar! (We have funds to subsidize the cost of this event, but teams will likely have to fund transportation)
  • Summer Workshop for Teachers and Students – Active PSC teachers and students may apply to PSC camp at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank, WV. We will provide more advanced training for 20 science teachers and up to 40 high school student leaders. Work alongside astronomers to learn how to characterize pulsars! Up to 16 undergraduate students will be residential assistants for the students. Teachers will live in separate quarters.  We will provide teacher stipends ($500.00),  and room and board for teachers, undergraduate mentors, and high school students.
  • Three hours of Graduate Credit available to teachers via WVU! Three hours Undergraduate Credit available to students (some restrictions apply)!!
Our Educational Research
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Mentor Application Form
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Hub Contacts

PSC student Lucas Bolyard at White House Star Party

PSC student Lucas Bolyard at White House Star Party.

Pulsar Scientist Maura McLaughlin with PSC teachers

Pulsar Scientist Maura McLaughlin with PSC teachers.