Neutron Star Merger Seen in Gravity and Matter This visualization shows the coalescence of two orbiting neutron stars. The right panel contains a visualization of the matter of the neutron stars.The left panel shows how space-time is distorted near the collisions. Credit: Karan Jani/Georgia Tech (Center for Relativistic Astrophysics)

International Physics & Astronomy Educator Program

Applications for the 2023 LIGO International Physics and Astronomy (IPA) program are now open! Full details about the program and a link to the application form are found below.

2019 IPA Cohort

Group photo of 2019's IPA participants at LIGO Hanford Observatory. Attendees hailed from 11 countries.

LIGO's International Physics and Astronomy (IPA) program for educators is an exciting one-week intensive program geared towards high school educators from around the world. Based at the LIGO Hanford Observatory, the IPA program offers participants opportunities to discuss with and hear from experts in modern physics and astronomy, tour sites of historic and scientific interest, and test out classroom activities that they can use in their home institutions. Topics of discussion range from nuclear physics to the emerging fields of gravitational wave and multi-messenger astronomy. The intent of the IPA program is to promote the teaching of modern physics in high schools by providing teachers with the opportunity to deepen their physics knowledge and fuel their passion for physics in an environment where teachers from around the world can exchange knowledge and experience.

2019 IPA OSB Activities

Teachers work in teams playing the role of student while learning new hands-on activities to be applied in their classrooms around the world.

The 2023 IPA program will be held at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in eastern Washington State, Sunday, July 16 to Saturday, July 22, 2023. Participants must be able to attend the entire program.

Since the IPA is offered in English, applicants should be fluent in speaking and writing the English language.

The program is currently scheduled to take place in-person with a limited number of participants; however, if a sharp rise in local COVID cases occurs the program will be moved online to take place virtually. If you have any questions please reach out to outreach@ligo-WA.caltech.edu.


COVID Protocols

All participants must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Proof of vaccination status will be requested upon acceptance. Additionally, participants must follow all applicable LIGO Hanford Observatory safety protocols, including the use of masks when required.


Program Cost

The fee for the program is $300, which is a small fraction of the full program cost. The fee helps cover participant accommodations, meals, and transportation to and from LIGO. Remaining costs are covered by LIGO and other supporters.


Travel Cost

Participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their travel to and from the Tri-Cities, WA, including visas if necessary. Please be mindful of your local travel restrictions and requirements. For those flying in for the program, ground transportation to and from the Tri-Cities Airport in Pasco, WA will be provided by LIGO.


Important Dates

  • November 1, 2022 - Applications open
  • January 31, 2023 - Applications close
  • March 1, 2023 - Successful applicants notified
  • April 1, 2023 - Intent to attend due (including payment)
  • July 16-22 - 2023 Program Dates
2019 IPA Social Time

Group dinners with LIGO staff provide opportunities for participants to get to know each other better, and to process and discuss the learning taking place each day. Here, LIGO staff scientist, Greg Mendell (left foreground), talks physics with teachers over a relaxed meal. LIGO Associate Director for Operations, Fred Raab (4th 'head' from the front right) is also always eager to meet with educators and answer questions.

2019 IPA LVEA tour prep

2019 IPA attendees prepare to get a behind-the-scenes tour of LIGO Hanford Observatory. Hair nets and booties keep excessive dust and dirt out of the area being toured, while the goggles protect eyes from possible stray near-infrared laser light. LIGO staff scientist, Jenne Driggers (black tee-shirt) joins them for the tour.




When filling out the IPA Program application you will be asked to provide:

  • Basic information about you and your school, such as name and contact information.
  • Basic information about your teaching experience, such as how many years you have been teaching and subjects you teach.
  • Answer the following questions:
    • What does inquiry based learning mean to you?
    • Describe one of your favorite lessons/activities/labs that you do in your class?
    • What do you hope to gain from participating in the IPA Program?
    • How do you plan to share what you learn during the IPA Program?
    • In a short 1-2 minute video explain what interests you about modern physics. You will have the opportunity to paste the link to your video in the answer window or indicate you will email the video to our outreach coordinator at a later time. All videos must be received by January 31, 2023.

If you are interested in applying for this exciting program, please click the following link. The application will appear in a new tab or window.

2023 IPA Program Application