Field Trips

Throughout the year, I plan a number of field trips and outings that help bring to life and complement the topics we cover in club meetings. These could literally be outside adventures—e.g., viewing the moon through a telescope—or adventures at outside locations. Over the last few years, club members have participated adventures such as:

  • NASA Ames Research Center for an overnight adventure at the night of impact for the LCROSS mission to the Moon and a meeting with Apollo Moon-walker Charlie Duke
  • NASA Ames Research Center for an opportunity to build and fly our own rockets with rocket scientist Wendy Holforty and lunar mission specialist Brian Day
  • NASA Ames Research Center for a tour inside the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, a chance to watch astronauts train in the Vertical Motion Simulator, and a visit to the world’s largest wind tunnel
  • UC Berkeley Department of Neurobiology with a demonstration by Dr. Marian Diamond of her research including her study of Einstein’s brain
  • UC Berkeley Nuclear Engineering Department for a tour and participation in special learning activities featuring fission, fusion, and quantum mechanics and interacting with the department’s undergraduate and graduate students
  • UC Berkeley Electrical Engineering Department for an introduction to the design of electronic circuits
  • UC Berkeley Cryogenic Dark Matter Search Experiment for a presentation by researcher Kyle Sundqvist
  • Stanford Linear Accelerator with a special presentation by Pief Panofsky, father of the facility
  • Stanford Radio Telescope where our students toured the big dish and actually got the chance to move it themselves
  • Marine Science Institute where our students had the opportunity to examine and pet live marine animals
  • Foothill College Observatory for first hand views of the universe and the opportunity to meet astronaut Buzz Aldrin from the first manned landing on the Moon
  • Foothill College Observatory to meet astronomer Frank Drake and hear of his search for extraterrestrial intelligence and the development of the famous Drake Equation
  • Nike Rocket Launch Site where we examined actual rockets and their internal components, learned of their roles in atmospheric and space research, and toured the launch facility both above and below ground

I offer two types of field trips:

1) Field trips offered by academic institutions or science centers that can guarantee a time and a day in advance. These field trips may require an additional charge for the program and/or use of the facility.

2) Field trips to witness real science in action. These are more unpredictable because real scientific activities (for example, viewing a rocket launch or making astronomical observations) can be affected by weather, technical difficulties, and other factors that make them impossible to schedule for certain. You’ll need a sense of adventure and flexibility to get the most out of these field trips, which I hope to offer at no additional cost.

Because I cannot be responsible for any children during times other than weekly club meetings, parents or guardians must accompany children on field trips, which usually are scheduled during evenings or weekends.