PAN Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

PAN 2014 applications will appear online at the JINAweb main PAN site!
Planned dates are July 27 - August 1 for teachers, August 3 - 8 for students.

Why should I apply for PAN?

The PAN program is an excellent way to get a very real taste of what research is like, both in a major national laboratory and on a university campus. Students can indulge their curiosity about nuclear astrophysics while teachers can gather information and techniques for use in their classrooms. NOTE: PAN welcomes applications from domestic and international students and U.S. and Canadian teachers.

What if I don't know a lot about nuclear science?

You don't need to. Previous PAN students/teachers have indicated that prior knowledge of the subject had very little to do with how much they enjoyed and benefitted from the program. However, you can expect to know a lot more when the program is over. The PAN organizers do require that PAN students have completed their freshman year of high school and PAN teachers conduct one or more science classes on a regular basis. Exception: pre-service teachers who are planning to teach physics or chemistry are especially welcome.

How do I get accepted to PAN?

Admission is competitive, and due to equipment and budget limitations, PAN@MSU accepts 20 teachers and 24 students per year. Note that our sister program, PAN@ND, accepts another 20 students and your application can qualify for both programs if you choose. If you're a teacher, you need to show that you want to incorporate nuclear astrophysics in your curriculum, and that you're teaching classes (preferably lots of students) where that would be appropriate. If you're a student, you need to show that you're highly motivated to pursue science and get stellar teacher recommendations.

When will I hear if I've been accepted?

Applications are open from December until April 7. NO decisions are made until late April, after passing the deadline. Notices that you have been accepted or placed on the wait list usually are sent via email by the end of April. Teacher waitlist candidates sometimes get to fill in when others cancel, but it is rare for a student to cancel, so waitlist candidates are unlikely to get in.

How much does it cost?

PAN is free to accepted participants; the JINA outreach budget will cover room and board (if you require), the cost of all materials and supplies, and some evening activities for the duration of the program. Your only costs are transportation and any recreational expenses. If those costs are prohibitive as well, consider asking for support from local businesses, community groups, or churches that would be glad to sponsor you for this unique opportunity!

What are the program hours?

PAN lasts one week for teachers and one week for students. Each day starts at 8:50 AM, but ending times vary between 4 PM and 6 PM depending on the program for that day. Also, optional evening activities usually begin at 7 PM. On Friday, the final day of the program, activities end by 3:30 PM. Accepted participants will receive a full schedule before arriving at PAN.

What goes on at the program?

Most activities occur at the Cyclotron building (NSCL), marked by the red arrow on the map below, where you will:

  • Hear NSCL scientists discuss their research in cosmic rays, nuclear astrophysics, detector technology, and many other fields
  • Work closely with other students, teachers and faculty in Question and Answer sessions
  • Form research teams to design and execute an experiment into the nature of cosmic rays
  • Create and present a poster about the results of your experiment (teachers may alternatively develop lesson plans)
  • Explore your interests in science with other enthusiastic students or teachers

To learn more about cosmic rays, which are a scientific focus of PAN, read through some Articles on Cosmic Rays (a focus of the PAN program). You can also get a feel for PAN activities by looking through the lectures and student presentations from past programs.

    How can teachers earn continuing education credit for participating in PAN?

    Teachers who participate in PAN are eligible for State Continuing Education Clock Hours (SCECH) administered by the Michigan Board of Education. In order to earn them, teachers must attend every day, all day, and sign in/out. An option for 1 MSU credit is also available, though the teacher must pay tuition costs.

    What goes on in the evenings?

    Once PAN is done for the day, your evenings are less structured. You do have the option to participate in a few activities, such as:

    • Touring campus and eating the finest ice cream known to humanity, made right here
    • Kicking back with pop and popcorn to watch a couple movies that may or may not be science-related
    • Taking the plunge in our pool or exploring other sports in our athletics facility
    • Bowling, beach volleyball, the MSU planetarium, the children's garden...the list goes on

    Where will I stay?

    If you choose to reside on campus during the PAN program, you will be housed in a dormitory to the north of NSCL. It will be less than a 10 minute walk from your dorm to the lab. Teachers will have single rooms, while students share with a roommate. The dorm is not air-conditioned and each hall has a community bathroom. Men and women are housed on separate floors. Students will have resident assistants on each hall to help them. The exterior doors are locked between 10pm and 7am, lights out for students is at 11:30pm.

    The Orange Arrow on the map below points out Shaw, the hall for student participants. The Bright Green Arrow points out Mason (the west side of Mason-Abbot), the hall for teacher participants. The red arrow indicates the cyclotron lab where program activities will take place.

    What about meals?

    A few lunches are served in the NSCL atrium during your week of PAN. If you are staying in the dormitory, all other meals are provided in the dorm cafeteria (students: Shaw; teachers: Snyder-Phillips) via a meal card provided to you upon check-in. If you are commuting rather than residing on campus, your lunches will be paid for in the cafeteria.

    What should I bring?

    Linens are provided for dorm-room beds. You should bring everything you would need for overnight stays: soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, other toiletries, towel, box fan (it can get very hot in the dorm), swimsuit, bath shoes, alarm clock, clothes, books, etc. We highly recommend bringing a laptop or other computing device so you can access program documents and create new ones during PAN!

    How do I get there?

    Flying: The closest airport is Lansing's Capital City Airport (LAN). From there, I will recommend taxi and bus service once you're accepted.

    Driving: You can approach East Lansing via I-69, I-96 or US 127. Take exit 9 (Trowbridge Road) from I-496/US 127. Turn left onto Harrison Ave. and turn right onto South Shaw Lane (eastbound one-way). The parking ramp will be on your left after Farm Lane (marked with a blue arrow on the map below), while the Cyclotron building (marked by the red arrow on the map below) is across the street. For more maps of MSU, go to http://www.msu.edu/maps/

    Where do I park?

    If you request a parking pass, you will have permission to park in the ramp north of NSCL (blue arrow on the map below pointing to the green circle containing the letter "P"). You may park in any spot that does NOT have a meter or a sign that indicates it is a reserved space. The reddened streets on the map are closed for construction.

    How do I apply?

    Go to the Main PAN page on JINAweb to find links to applications! Good luck.

    Campus Map