Yale-Universidad de Chile International Program in Astronomy Education and Research Renewed

galaxy: A newly found galaxy collision in the nearby universe, discovered by astronomers from Yale and Chile, in a collaboration of the Yale / U. de Chile Joint Program in Astronomy Education and Research.

The Yale University Provost’s Office has announced a three-year, $521,000 renewal of the Yale-Universidad de Chile (U. de Chile) International Program in Astronomy Education and Research that supports undergraduate and graduate student and faculty interchange.

This international program of education and research, currently funded by Yale, began in 1999 under the auspices of Yale, the U. de Chile, and the Andes Foundation. “The program has enriched the curricula at both universities,” said Jeffrey Kenney, professor and chair of the Department of Astronomy at Yale. “Our astronomers and students have had access to the large and excellent telescopes in Chile, and theoretical training and facilities at Yale have enhanced joint projects with U. de Chile and aided the growth of their graduate program.”

“This is a very important agreement for Yale University and the Universidad de Chile — it embodies our strong commitment to international education and to our encouragement of students in the sciences,” said Yale Provost Andrew D. Hamilton.

Previously, the program focused on graduate research. Over the past seven years, three students completed PhDs through the graduate education program, many journal papers emerging from the key program projects were published, and the program received significant recognition at scientific meetings in both South America and North America.

Several key projects of the program have produced groundbreaking results. One project discovered long streams of stars in the halo of our own Milky Way Galaxy, showing that our galaxy has formed in part through the mergers of smaller galaxies. Another study took very long exposures of the sky at near-infrared wavelengths, and discovered what is likely to be the dominant population of galaxies in the distant, early universe.

Faculty, postdoctoral fellows, and graduate students of the Yale / U. de Chile Joint Program in Astronomy Education and Research at a May 2006 meeting in Santiago, Chile.

 “While this has been a fantastic program for graduate students and researchers at both Yale and U. de Chile for seven years, we are particularly excited about the renewal, since it contains new programs for undergraduates and expanded opportunities for faculty visits,” said Kenney.

The renewal brings new programs for Yale undergraduate students and faculty from both universities. The new programs include an undergraduate summer astronomy course for science and math majors and a summer research program in Santiago, Chile for Yale astronomy majors that will provide both scientifically and culturally significant experiences abroad. There will also be an opportunity for extended faculty visits and sabbaticals of up to 12 months for U. de Chile faculty at Yale. Each of the programs will strengthen and foster successful scientific collaborations.

Existing programs also will be extended and expanded. Short-term visits between Yale and U. de Chile will afford face-to-face meetings for groups from each department to discuss student issues and collaborative projects. Funding will be available for Yale post-doctoral fellows to work on the key joint research projects, and to spend significant amounts of time at both institutions.

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Janet Rettig Emanuel: janet.emanuel@yale.edu, 203-432-2157