April 2015
  • A Northwestern team led by CIERA Director Vicky Kalogera has been awarded a 5-year, $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation to help train graduate students in the interdisciplinary fields of data analytics and Big Data. The program, entitled "From the Earth and the Universe to the Successful Careers of the Future", was one of only eight proposals funded across the country, out of approximately 240 proposals that were received by the NSF. Professor Kalogera and her team designed a two-year graduate certificate program that includes, for example, the Big Data challenges of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope and the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, and the EarthScope seismic observatory project. The program will also give graduate students the chance to improve their communication skills, learn about parallel programming and visualization, and take part in summer internships at national labs and in industry. Over the 5-year duration, the program with provide graduate fellowships for 35 students selected from a wide range of existing PhD programs.

    The NSF highlighted this and other Research Traineeship awards in a press release.
March 2015
  • Two new group members will be joining us in September as postdocs: Laura Sampson and Chris Pankow will both join our LIGO research group. Laura comes from Montana State University is an expert in Bayesian statistics, parameter estimation and model selection for gravitational-wave sources in connection to both interferometric detectors and pulsar-timing arrays. Chris is an expert in a wide range of methods for gravitational-wave signal searches from both burst and binary coalescence events. As Advanced LIGO starts observations this coming Fall we are looking forward to welcoming them both to our group!
February 2015
  • A new paper “On the Formation of Ultraluminous X-ray Sources with Neutron Star Accretors: the Case of M82 X-2” by Tassos Fragos (Geneva Observatory), Tim Linden (U Chicago), Vicky Kalogera (Northwestern), and Panos Sklias (Geneva Observatory) is now accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Vicky with her past students and now collaborators, Tassos and Tim, and Tassos’ student Panos consider the newly discovered ultraluminous X-ray source M82 X-2, which surprised us by revealing a neutron star accretor instead of the typically assumed intermediate-mass black hole. The team found that, as long as mass-transfer from the massive companion is non-conservative, the system is consistent with expectations from population synthesis models of high-mass X-ray binaries.
  • LIGO Generations, a new film documenting the history of gravitational wave astronomy and the dramatic next phase about to unfold with Advanced LIGO, was released just last week. It can be watched online.
    Accompanying the film, the LIGO Scientific Collaboration will host a web AMA ("Ask me anything") session on the reddit r/science channel starting Friday February 13th at 12:00 pm CST.
January 2015
  • We are happy to announce a Public Outreach activity we are launching within CIERA for the duration of 2015. These events are inspired by the 100 year anniversary of Einstein’s theory of relativity. Guests will have the opportunity to meet CIERA postdoctoral associates, graduate and undergraduate students on the last Friday of every month at Dearborn Observatory on the Northwestern campus. They will discuss their research, share some exciting visualizations, and answer questions.
    You can find further details here. We look forward to seeing you there!
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