2023 Pathways to Science Summer Scholars explore the invisible universe at Wright Lab

Group of people standing in front of a large, blue, circular sculpture.
August 21, 2023

In July 2023, members of the Wright Lab community taught three week-long workshops and two enrichment sessions for the 2023 Pathways Summer Scholars–a free two-week summer science program exclusively for over 100 high school students from the Yale Pathways to Science program.  More details and photos from the events are below.

Enrichment sessions:

Discovering the Invisible Universe

Led by: Graduate students Sumita Ghosh and Emily Pottebaum, undergraduate Aaron Chizhik, and lecturer Caitlin Hansen

Description: Wright Lab hosted two classes of Pathways Summer Scholars, providing enrichment activities to discover the invisible Universe. Participants learned how Wright Lab scientists use particle detectors in their research by setting up a detector called “Cosmic Watch” and plotting how many muon particles passed through when the detector was exposed and when it was covered. The students then made Yale Physics keychains with beads that revealed colors when exposed to UV light.

Discovering the Invisible Universe photos 

Light and Color

Led by graduate student Theophilus Human.

Description: Want to learn how rainbows are formed and how we perceive color?

Light and Color Photos


The 5-day workshops, held July 10-14 and July 17-21, included:

Radio Astronomy - Measuring the Galaxy

Led by: assistant professor Laura Newburgh, postdoctoral associate Pranav Sanghavi, and graduate student Will Tyndall

Description: How do we know our galaxy is rotating? Is this evidence for dark matter? Use a simple radio telescope to observe hydrogen gas in our galaxy and chart how it moves.

Radio Astronomy Photos

The Physics of Light

Led by: associate professor David Moore and graduate students Glenn Richardson, Ben Siegel, Molly Watts, Sierra Wilde, and Yu-Han Tseng

Description: For all of us who can see, we experience light and color every moment. But what are they? Students explored light’s visible and invisible properties, and how these properties enable technologies from lasers to smartphones.

The Physics of Light Photos

What’s inside the proton? Smash it to find out!

Led by: assistant professor Laura Havener, postdoctoral associates Hannah Bossi and Isaac Mooney, NSF MPS-Ascend Postdoctoral Fellow Fernando Flor, and graduate students Evan Craft, Youqi Song, Andrew Tamis, and Sierra Weyhmiller

Description: What makes up matter? What are the smallest particles? Smash protons with electrons in computer simulations and study the wreckage to find the answers – just like physicists do at particle colliders.

What’s inside the Proton Photos