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

International Physics & Astronomy Educator Program

Applications for the 2020 LIGO International Physics and Astronomy (IPA) program for educators will be available November 1, 2019. Read below for full details about the program so you can begin to think about what to include in your application.

IPA 2018 group cropped

2018 IPA teachers from around the world pose for a group shot at LIGO Hanford Observatory

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.

IPA 2018 lesson

2018 IPA participants engage in discussions and practice activities designed to bring modern physics into the 21st century classroom

The 2020 IPA program will be held at the LIGO Hanford Observatory in eastern Washington State, Sunday, July 12 to Saturday, July 18, 2020. 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.

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.



IPA 2018 tour

2018 IPA teachers tour the inner workings of LIGO's interferometer

IPA 2018 dinner

2018 IPA teachers and LIGO staff get to know each other over dinner

Travel Cost

Participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their travel to and from the Tri-Cities, WA. 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, 2019 - Applications open
  • January 31, 2020 - Applications close
  • March 1, 2020 - Successful applicants notified
  • April 1, 2020 - Intent to attend due (including payment)
  • July 12-18 - 2020 Program Dates

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, 2020