Students in research: The training program of the Astronomy Institute is five years old

Students in research: The training program of the Astronomy Institute is five years old

More than five years ago, at the beginning of 2017, the CSFK Institute of Astronomy published its first invitation, in which students were offered the opportunity to apply for a paid opposition position. This announcement was primarily motivated by the need for a new generation of observers to master the operation of the telescopes of the Piszkéstető Observatory. But in addition to researchers, the goal was also to support the supply of researchers, so students also participated in research work based on topics. After the success of the first tenders, the training program was expanded to include positions in numerical astrophysics and engineering, for those who wanted to deal with unconditional measurements and data processing, and the support period was also modified to university classes.

The launch of the program was motivated not only by the need for new detectors, but also by the own experiences of László Kiss, then director of the Institute of Astronomy, from the time he himself was a teaching assistant at the university in Szeged. Based on the experience of the program so far, financial support is more important to ensure the livelihood of university students, in this way they can have more opportunities to learn their future profession than if they have to secure their livelihood from others. professions. From the start, the program has had the support of Laszlo Kis, current CSFK General Manager, and Robert Szabo, CSI Director and Program Director.

Last semester 2021/2022 and the astronomers they teach in the new kitchen of the Piszkéstető Observatory, in October 2021. (Photo: Silla Callop)

In the period since 2017, 37 students have had the opportunity to do their research work at the Institute as appointees, in parallel with their undergraduate studies. The success of the program is indicated by the fact that many of them have since started, and two – Rica Konieves Toth and Gabriela Zaidi – have already completed their doctoral studies. In addition, many of our students have been accepted into master’s and doctoral programs at well-known foreign universities (among others: MPIA, Germany; University of Bochum, Germany; University of St Andrews – UK; Leiden University – Netherlands; University of Helsinki, Finland, University of Vienna Tech, Austria). The vast majority of students also prepared theses for the TDK, which won ten OTDK jobs and seven special awards at the 2019 and 2021 OTDK events.

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But not only do our students excel at this, many of them have also become co-authors of technical articles thanks to their work. There are already more than 60 publications on influencing factors Can be connected to the viewer software, which has collected nearly 600 references so far. In addition, there were those who were able to publish the results of their own research, and indeed their first authored article as undergraduates was published in the technical literature. By name, it was Zsófia Bora, Géza Csönyei, Csilla Kalup, Réka Könyves-Tóth, Máté Krezinger, Blint Seli, Marianna Zsófia Szabó and Péter Veres who reached this milestone from the years 2017-2021. In addition, mention should be made of the names of Blanca Villagos and Benjamin Seuss, authors of an institute published in Science for the technical article They contributed their findings and became co-authors as undergraduates.

It is therefore clear that the demonstration program has an impact on the provision of Hungarian astronomy, even if individual careers can be influenced by many other factors. The new call for applications for the academic year 2022-2023, with application deadline of September 25, is now available On the CSFK website. Although the focus remains on research work, this year we also plan to organize joint programs and projects for students. We will also publish a longer summary of our experience, feedback, and potential development trends in our Hungarian Science Columns.

open photo: That’s how it began, the first six students were selected in 2017. Photo: Laszlo Kiss.

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