Physics of Atomic Nuclei (PAN)

PAN is a free week-long program for current high school students.

Online PAN:  Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Michigan State University and Notre Dame University do not plan on hosting in-person K-12 summer programs for 2021. We are planning an online version of the program July 26-30, 2021. 

The online PAN will incorporate lectures and Q&As with faculty from a variety of JINA institutions, as well as interactive activities and remote experiments in small groups with a mentor. Applications are currently open, and will close at 11:59pm ET on April 29, 2021.


PAN is sponsored by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Astrophysics - Center for the Evolution of the Elements (JINA-CEE) which is a Physics Frontier Center funded by the National Science Foundation.

Traditionally, the program takes place at one of two world leading nuclear physics laboratories: Nuclear Science Laboratory located on the campus of the University of Notre Dame and the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams, located on the campus of Michigan State University. Lectures and experiments are led by NSL and FRIB faculty, staff, and students. The program introduces participants to the fundamentals of the extremely small domain of atomic nuclei and its connection to the extremely large domain of astrophysics and cosmology.


The PAN @ Notre Dame Experience (Postponed until 2022)

  • Be introduced to the fascinating fields of astrophysics, cosmology, and nuclear science through lectures and tours.
  • Perform a series of experiments using state of the art experimental equipment in Notre Dame's Jordan Hall of Science.
  • Learn experimental techniques used by the experimental nuclear astrophysics community through the use of various gamma, neutron and charged particle detectors.
  • See previous presentations on YouTube!
  • Learn more in the PAN @ ND FAQ.

The PAN @ Michigan State Experience

  • Learn about research in one of the top rare-isotope laboratories in the world.
  • Get introduced to the fascinating fields of astrophysics, cosmology, and nuclear science.
  • Perform your own nuclear physics experiments.
  • Meet researchers from many institutions nationwide.
  • The 2021 program is planned to be online, with remote instruction over Zoom and Google Classroom. Find out what that looked like in 2020!

Application Instructions:

A complete application requires submission of a pre-application (complete this as soon as possible), an application, and two teacher recommendations. We use google forms to collect the information and send email notifications.

Eligibility: We welcome U.S. students who are currently in high school to apply to both locations. International students are not eligible. There are no exceptions.



PAN student: "Fantastic all-around program. It's the best summer camp I've ever attended. It is a real treat to be around people who want to chat about math and science and who are smarter than I am. It is in some ways a small taste of college."

PAN student: "Learning with a group of peers interested in science the way I am was one of the best educational experiences I've had so far!"

Program Contact

Zach Constan, MSU Contact 517-908-7363