Overview of the project

Project leader: Eduardo Rubio-Herrera, erubio@astro.unam.mx
Project location: Guatemala

Project Description:
The GUAtemalan School of Astrophysics (GUASA) aims to bring together local Central American/Caribbean undergraduate students of physics/mathematics/engineering, with experts from prestigious astronomical institutions from around the world.

During each edition, we expect to cover a wide range of modern topics of astrophysics in order to motivate the students to pursue major degrees in astronomy elsewhere. We hope that this school will contribute to create a critical mass of professional astronomers/astrophysicists in the region along with the conditions needed for research, thus leading to the creation of strong astrophysics departments in the Universities of the region. In the future, after a few editions of GUASA, we hope to be able to include lecturers from the local academic community. As a complementary activity of every edition of GUASA, we also want to organize outreach activities for the general public, such as public lectures followed by observations using small telescopes. These activities we hope, will encourage children and teenagers to get closer to science and to continue their studies aiming for superior education.

Guatemala, along with many countries of the Central American/Caribbean region, lacks of a solid and well consolidated program of astronomy/astrophysics at Graduate level. The GUASA school aims to trigger the change needed to improve upon that situation. We believe that after undertaking a few editions of the GUASA school, this pattern can substantially change by training and motivating good students to enroll them in higher education programs while we campaign the local authorities in favour of the creation of new opportunities to recover their now highly trained and educated professionals.

About the project leader:
Dr. Rubio-Herrera is lecturer of physics and astrophysics at two universities in Guatemala City, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, and associated researcher to the Institute of Astronomy at UNAM.