The W. M. Keck Foundation is well known in astronomical circles for funding major telescopes in Hawaii. Less well known is the Foundation’s support of astronomy in a group of eight liberal arts colleges, the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC). Funds from the Keck Foundation enabled the eight colleges to purchase CCD cameras and to upgrade telescope and computer facilities. More importantly, KNAC devised an exchange program for summer research students that allows students to follow up their astronomical interests at any of the other colleges except their home campus, thus providing them with a choice of up to two dozen faculty members to work with, rather than one or two. “KNAC students” report on their summer research at an annual symposium. A substantial number of student co-authored journal papers have emerged from the KNAC program. KNAC students have been very successful in graduate school admissions and in their later scientific careers.
We describe the features of the KNAC program with special emphasis on those parts of the program that could be supported without a large source of external funding.
- Keck Foundation
- small telescopes
- astronomy education