Advancing Astronomy Instrument Builders

AstroTech is a new summer school developed by a combination of the Institute for Scientist & Engineer Educators (ISEE), the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) team led by Jessica Lu (Project Scientist), and several additional faculty from the University of California and other astronomy departments in the U.S.  It will borrow and build on elements taken from previous summer schools developed by ISEE and other astronomy groups, including the ISEE Professional Development Program, the TMT Early-Career Initiative, the CfAO Adaptive Optics Summer School, and the Dunlap Summer School.  Upper-level undergraduates and early graduate students in astronomy, engineering, and physics are the target audience.

AstroTech Events

2020 AstroTech Summer School, July 20-24, University of California Berkeley has been cancelled due to COVID-19.  This was scheduled to be the first full AstroTech summer school.  Application deadline was: January 23, 2020.

COVID-19 status: The 2020 AstroTech Summer School at UC Berkeley has been cancelledMore information about our considerations and response to COVID-19 is available here.

The AstroTech Development Workshop was held July 15-19, 2019 at University of California, Berkeley.  This workshop piloted lab activities for the 2020 summer school, collected participant feedback, and included sessions and working time for instructors and developers to further prepare for a national AstroTech summer school and program.


Learning Outcomes for AstroTech

A) Participants will gain skills, knowledge, and mindset to advance in the field of instrumentation, including:

  1. Confidence and experience working with lab hardware and instrumentation processes
  2. Demonstrating knowledge of physical principles by designing, building, and testing an astronomical instrument
  3. Gaining and employing professional skills for a lab and team setting
  4. Adopting attitudes and strategies supporting persistence in the field of instrumentation

B) AstroTech will establish an inclusive and equitable community that supports the advancement of people from groups currently underrepresented in the field of instrumentation.


AstroTech is unique in several aspects. First, it will broadly cover all aspects of astronomical instrumentation, including software and process, and will have a much larger hands-on laboratory experience relative to prior summer schools.   Second, AstroTech is aimed at a younger group than some previous summer schools and will target two key transition points: (1) undergraduate to graduate level, where undergraduate students decide whether to attend graduate school, where to apply, and where to attend; and (2) pre-masters to PhD candidacy, where graduate students choose their advisors and thesis topics. Thirdly, students will also be encouraged to participate in the workshop in multiple years taking on increasing leadership roles in individual workshop activities. Finally, AstroTech has a specific goal of increasing equity, diversity, and inclusion within astronomical instrumentation, which will be achieved through specific activities during the workshop, targeted recruiting, and post-AstroTech community building.


AstroTech is funded by the Heising-Simons Foundation and by the National Science Foundation through the Keck All-Sky Precision Adaptive Optics (KAPA) project (AST#1836016).


Individuals with questions about AstroTech should contact:

AstroTech Program Managers –

Professor Jessica Lu –