Frequently Asked Questions


Who may participate?

The program is open to any student who is in a public, private, or parochial high school or in a home schooled program.

By the way, once you have graduated from SMP, you are welcome to return to see a lecture again, or to catch a lecture that you missed the first time around.  Drop us an email a few days ahead so we can save you a spot.


When does registration open and close?

We usually open online registration the middle of August and close it in the middle of March after the third session begins.


Where are the lectures given?

Lectures are given in Wilson Hall (GPS: 41°50’19.6″N+88°15’40.3″W). The conference room is usually One West, but this might change depending on the specific events going on at Fermilab each Saturday.  We’ll let you know in advance if the room changes.

Who gives the lectures?

Volunteer scientists and engineers from the Fermilab community give the lectures.

Do I need to bring anything?

Only something for taking notes.  And questions – we love your questions!

May parents and teachers attend?

It is our goal to make these lectures a welcoming place for the target audience: high school students.   To that end, we ask that parents, teachers and younger siblings not attend these lectures.  There are always exceptions to this policy (e.g., a student needs an adult for physical or emotional support), and these are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Everyone should come on graduation day – we have a special lecture/Q&A for parents and teachers that runs parallel to the students’ graduation lecture.  Siblings are welcome to either of these lectures.


Are any of the tours outside Fermilab?

No, tours are given exclusively of the Fermilab facilities. For a detailed list of tours follow the Tours link on the left side of the page.

What are the tours of?

The tours are from the laboratory’s Accelerator, Research, and Industrial facilities. For a detailed list of tours follow the Tours link on the side of the page.

Who gives the tour?

The tours are given by volunteer scientists and engineers from the Fermilab community.

May I take pictures?

Absolutely!  In fact, we encourage it.  If you post your pictures to social media, please use the hashtag #FermilabSMP.

I’ve sat through the lecture, but I need to leave early. Can I skip the tour?

Yes, missing a tour will not counted as an absence.

May parents and teachers attend the tours?

We prefer that adults wait at Wilson Hall during the tours.  Note that Fermilab offers a variety of public tours; see .  And as with the lectures, exceptions are considered on a case by case basis.


Do we need to take a test to graduate?

No, there will be no test at any point during the program.

Do we get a certificate?

Students who have attended seven complete classes of the entire nine-week course will be awarded a Certificate of Accomplishment at the Graduation ceremonies following the conclusion of the last class.

Do we get a degree?

No, you do not get a degree. Some schools give special credits for those who attended SMP.

I earned a certificate but I couldn’t make it to the graduation ceremony. How can I get it?

We can mail it to you. But if you know in advance you can’t make it to the final class, and you already attended 7 or more classes, you can have a friend pick it up for you after the ceremony.

Do we need to wear tuxedo/dress?

Obviously you haven’t seen how we dress. No, you don’t need to wear any special clothes, we just try to focus on the content and to keep things very informal.  But you might want to leave the T-shirts and tank tops at home for the graduation – we often take pictures of you then,