From May 15th through May 19th, three teams from Bakersfield College will be competing against other teams from around the nation in the National Student Solar Spectrograph Competition. In the competition teams from colleges and universities design, build, and test optical instruments to answer questions about the Sun or use sunlight to investigate some science question about the Earth. Although at first glance it looks like the competition has a narrow goal of spectroscopy of the Sun, the real goal is to train future scientists and engineers in how to solve problems as a team by working on a real-world science question. Most of the students who participate will probably not go into space science but the experience gained and techniques developed from the competition will be invaluable in whatever future science and engineering problems we'll need them to solve for us. Reading any newspaper shows that we're certainly going to need a lot of home-grown expertise in STEM fields for the future challenges in this county and state and, heck, in our inter-connected world. For the first time Bakersfield College will participate in the competition and we're starting in a big way with not just one team but three teams. The teams have received NASA mini-grants to build the spectrographs within the set budget of the mini-grant but the students are going to need help in travel costs to the competion judging event in May.
last updated: April 18, 2013
Webpage contact: Nick Strobel