About the Program

Bringing together top space science students with internationally recognized researchers at Los Alamos in an educational and collaborative atmosphere.

Contacts  

  • Administrative Assistant
  • Lucia Herrera
  • Email

The program is open to U.S. and foreign PhD students in space physics, planetary sciences, aerospace engineering, or a related field.

In December we solicit applications for the summer session. The top ranked students are selected to participate in the program and receive the prestigious Vela Fellowship worth $10,000 to cover travel and living expenses.  During the program, students receive technical training and lectures, as well as an opportunity to develop their written and oral communication skills.

Research Projects

The unique aspect of the Los Alamos Space Weather Summer School is its emphasis on scientific research projects. Students team up with LANL mentors to work on unresolved scientific problems in space physics. LANL is engaged in a wide variety of space-physics activities and offers a host of exciting research projects. Check online at https://www.lanl.gov/projects/national-security-education-center/space-earth-center/space-weather-school/mentors-projects.php for a list of current and past projects. Nevertheless, students are encouraged to propose their own ideas, which might include topics from their PhD thesis, and contact the Space Weather Summer School management to find a suitable match within the LANL staff.  In the past, the majority of these projects led to presentations at major international conferences and, in some cases, to publications in peer-reviewed journals.

Lectures

The lectures will be composed of three main themes.  The first part will be an overview of basic space physics concepts geared towards understanding how the magnetosphere works and how it is driven. The second part will use modeling tools to explore the same concepts in a more quantitative way, exposing the strengths and weaknesses of available models. The final part of the lectures will bring these concepts together to explore how new space missions could be devised to help resolve longstanding scientific questions. Lectures will be coordinate with "labs" to get more hands-on experience. Space data analysis and modeling will be the main themes. There will be the opportunity to attend the international workshop "The impact of the cold plasma populations in the Earth's magnetosphere" held at the historic Fuller Lodge in Los Alamos in June 2020. Several field trips will be organized to visit Los Alamos facilities and historic sites (examples could include LANSCE, electron accelerators, visualization and high-performance computing labs, etc.). A "career day" will be organized to convey job opportunities and desirable skill-sets for a career in a national laboratory.

At the end of the summer, students give a short oral presentation of their research in a technical forum and write up their results for inclusion in the Space Weather Summer School Research Reports.

Final Presentation and Report

At the end of the summer, students give a short oral presentation of their research in a technical forum and write up their results for inclusion in the Space Weather Summer School Research Reports.

Previous Summer Schools

The summer school has hosted many top quality student alumni. After the summer, students sometimes continue to work with their mentors, presenting their research at conferences or submitting for publication in journals.

Previous Directors of the summer school include Josef Koller (2011-2013) and Misa Cowee (2013-2018) and Jesse Woodroffe (2018).

Application process »