ZTF Summer School 2021

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The 2021 school will be virtual and will take place on Aug 16-20.

The ZTF summer school is designed to provide young astronomers (graduate level and above) with hands-on experience and training in data processing of ZTF and other transient survey data using modern data science techniques such as Bayesian inference, time-series analysis, and machine learning. During the school, students will use Python Jupyter notebooks and work on multiple assignments under the guidance of experts in the field.

Lectures and Python notebooks are freely available.



Applications for the school will be accepted between April 15 and June 1st. To apply for the school, you will need to fill a registration form and submit with it:

  • A motivation letter outlining (1) your motivation to join the school, (2) your background and experience with astronomy research, and (3) how the school will benefit your future research work.
  • A recommendation letter from an adviser or otherwise someone who can speak to your experience and potential
  • Complete a Python assignment. Download both the assignment and the data file you need to complete it. When finished, upload a PDF file along with the rest of the material in your application.

We suggest that you prepare your documents first, then return here and click on the Submit an Application button below. Note that in order to upload file into the registration form, you will be asked to sign into your Google account.

Selected applicants will be invited in mid-June.


The theme for this school is variable stars. Click below to view a summary program of the topics that will be included. The school format will include pre-recorded lectures that students need to watch before joining the live school sessions. The live sessions will have a brief Q&A part during which students can discuss the video lectures with the lecturers and an interactive part when students will work with Python Jupyter notebooks to complete data processing assignments under the guidance of tutors.

To accommodate students across multiple time zones we've selected to run the live sessions approximately between 9 am and 12 pm CDT (UTC-5). Selected students will also work in groups on homework each day between 1- 4 pm CDT, with the possibility of groups working in morning Europe time if there is sufficient student and tutor availability. During that time, they will be able to submit questions to tutors via Slack. Students whose time zones make it inconvenient to join the homework sessions can work on their own.

Organizing Committee

The lead organizer of the ZTF summer schools is Michael Coughlin at the University of Minnesota. He is assisted by members of the ZTF partnership who bring in diverse expertise to form an organizing committee. The members of the organizing committee are:

  • Matthew Graham - ZTF Project Scientist (Caltech)
  • David Kaplan - Associate Professor (UWM)
  • Marek Kowalski - Professor of Astronomy (Humboldt University of Berlin/DESY)
  • Leo Singer - Researcher (NASA/GSFC)
  • Albert Kong - Professor (NTHU, Taiwan)
  • Tomas Ahumada - Graduate Student (UMD)
  • Iva Kostadinova - ZTF Program Coordinator (Caltech)


If you have questions, please get in touch with the organizing committee at ztf.summer.school@gmail.com.