Education and Outreach

The scope of LMS’ activities ensures that the impact of the Laboratory reaches beyond the Caltech campus. Our outreach efforts include science education at multiple levels and interaction across the international science community. Currently LMS pursues various educational outreach programs that enrich science education at the undergraduate, high school and middle school levels, in particular reaching a large number of under-represented students.

Some of our educational programs include:

Graduate Education

Attracting talented and capable research students to participate in exciting multidisciplinary research frontiers is one of LMS’ primary educational goals.

Students interested in applying to Caltech should visit the Caltech Graduate Admissions website.


Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships (SURF) Program

Caltech has a long-standing tradition of encouraging its own undergraduates to carry out summer research on campus through the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships program. About 240 Caltech undergraduates participate in this program every year and experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity. Many of these students regard the SURF experience as the highlight of their college career.

MURF Fellowships Program (MURF)
Caltech’s MURF program provides support for talented undergraduates to spend a summer working in a research laboratory on the Caltech campus. The MURF program aims to increase the representation of underrepresented students in science and engineering graduate programs and to make Caltech’s programs more visible to students not traditionally exposed to Caltech. The program supports Caltech’s commitment to training a diverse set of science, technology, engineering, and math leaders. The program exposes students to the excitement and opportunities of a research career. This experience provides excellent preparation for students interested in subsequently pursuing a Ph.D.

The Caltech Precollege Science Initiative (CAPSI)
The Caltech Precollege Science Initiative is a collaborative effort, linking scientists and engineering professionals with educators, teachers, and school administrators. CAPSI is part of a national effort to improve K-12 science education, aimed at minimizing rote learning, and nurturing curiosity-driven and inquiry-based learning in public schools.

Visits by Elementary and Middle School Students
LMS hosts field trips by elementary and middle school students from the Pasadena Unified School District and the San Marino School District. Through lab tours, hands-on activities and lectures by the LMS Director, students are exposed to the research at the Laboratory.

Science Fair and Science Students
The LMS Director has also been involved in the promotion of science in the state of California by giving lectures to students at the following events.

  • Keynote Address, "Voyage of Discoveries"; California State Science Fair; California Science Center, (Los Angeles, California) May 19, 2003
  • Keynote Speech, 2005 California Nobel Laureate Dinner with COSMOS (California State Summer School for Math & Sciences), "Voyage Through Time", The Getty Center, Los Angeles, California, November 21, 2005.

Ernest C. Watson Lecture Series
Distinguished members of the Caltech community present the quarter-century-old Earnest C. Watson Lecture Series. The lectures, typically held on Wednesday evenings, are designed to present current Caltech research in layperson's terms, and are free and open to the public.

Several LMS faculty members have been invited to present the Watson Lectures:

  • Professor Ahmed Zewail
    “Freezing Time - the Six Millenia Race to Femtoseconds”, May 1999
  • Professor Jacqueline Barton
    “A Different View of the DNA Double Helix: A Conduit for Charge Transport”, May 2000
  • Professor Hideo Mabuchi
    “The Quantum-Classical Transition on Trial: Is the Whole More Than the Sum of the Parts?”, Nov 2001
International Participation
LMS encourages student exchange programs with national and international research groups who bring unique perspectives, methods, and expertise to the activities of the Laboratory.

Educational Articles
Freezing Atoms in Motion: Principles of Femtochemistry and Demonstration by Laser Stroboscopy, J. S. Baskin, A. H. Zewail, J. Chem. Educ. 2001, 78, 737.

Femto Museum (FemtoLand I)
In 1999, the Director of LMS was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for “for his studies of the transition states of chemical reactions using femtosecond spectroscopy.” The original experimental apparatus that was used for this pioneering work is now housed in the Femto Museum at LMS. The Femto Museum also includes an educational demonstration of the essential concepts involved in femtochemistry. The Femto Museum is located in the sub-basement of the Arthur Amos Noyes Laboratory of Chemical Physics (056 Noyes). Admission is by prior appointment only.