Presentation #224.07 in the session “The Data Lab Science Platform and Open-Data Ecosystem at NSF's NOIRLab”.
The NOIRLab Data Lab science platform can be a powerful entry tool for undergraduates beginning research in astronomy. Many of my students are using it to learn Python and introductory data science techniques using the included Jupyter notebooks. The science examples provided on the platform are particularly useful for beginners. A wide variety of science is possible with the Data Lab since users can access any public dataset, not just the NOIRLab legacy surveys, or build their own theoretical models within the platform. The Data Lab is also an important tool for increasing diversity and inclusivity within astronomy research. Students don't have to be able to afford a high-end computer with a fast processor and plenty of hard drive space to be able to process large datasets, and faculty at small teaching colleges don't need to purchase extra computers for their research group. Finally, the Data Lab is easily accessible from anywhere, which has been especially helpful during the pandemic.