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Michael Chriss Scholarship

Annual Astronomical Award Competition

Enter your extra credit project paper for CSM Astronomy Award

Current CSM students, who are completing or have completed at least one CSM astronomy course, may enter their extra credit project papers related to astronomy in competition for the Michael Chriss Astronomy Award. Annually, the College of San Mateo offers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place awards in two categories of student achievement in astronomy.

The first category consists of the project papers that are the culmination of astronomical research at CSM observatory, which can include, but is not limited to,
  • Spectroscopy
  • Photometry
  • Surveys
or are the result of online research such as,
  • Use of remotely controlled telescopes to obtain the data for plotting and thus, verification of variable star periods
  • Citizen ASAS-SN (All-Sky Automated Survey for SuperNovae) where one can classify and discover new types of variable stars
  • NASA's Disk Detective, in which one can use infrared WISE data to help astronomers find new protoplanetary disks.
The research projects in this category should be in consultation with the CSM astronomy faculty and the approval of the CSM Astronomy Program coordinator.

The second category consists of the project papers resulting from research on astronomy's role in other fields such as philosophy, culture, religion, and art. This research should be in consultation with the course faculty for which the extra credit paper is intended.

Examples of the scope of research in this category are:
  • Music that has astronomy in its title or its lyrics, such as Gustav Holst's, The Planets
  • The link between early Greek philosophers and astronomy
  • The inspiration behind Van Gogh’s Starry Night
  • Astronomy in different cultures
  • Astronomy and Literature
  • Astronomy and Art
  • Astronomy and film
  • Astronomy and religion
  1. The due date for the submission of the papers is February 20, 2023. Students must submit their papers in the standard format of research papers, with proper citations, to the office of the CSM Astronomy coordinator,
  2. A team consisting of CSM astronomers, qualified volunteer students, and volunteer faculty from other departments will evaluate the papers and recommend the top six papers (three in each category) for the awards to the CSM astronomy program coordinator (CSMAPC).
  3. The CSMAPC notifies authors of those papers by March 24, 2023, about the qualification of their projects for the Michael Chriss Awards for Astronomy.
  4. Once notified, each student prepares a short 10-minute presentation of the result of their research. The presentations may include but are not limited to, PowerPoint, posters, or models.
  5. Students have until April 14, 2023 to prepare their presentations.
  6. The astronomy department will set a convenient date and place for the students to present their projects and invite the public, students, faculty, and administrators to participate.
  7. First, second, third place awards in each category will be determined by the papers' merit and the quality of presentations.
  8. See below for the monetary value of each award.
  9. The criteria for the qualification for awards include, but are not limited to, the depth of research, graphical analysis, clarity of writing, and the dynamics of presentations.
  • The first-place winner in each category will receive a cash award of $500.00.
  • The second-place winner in each category will receive a cash award of $200.00.
  • The third-place winner in each category will receive a cash award of $100.00.
The winners will receive their awards during a special event at the end of the spring semester.