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December 2012
  • Dr. Francesca Valsecchi has been named a "Young Star" of the American Physical Society's Division of Astrophysics! Francesca has been selected for this early career recognition award in appreciation of her research on the interactions of stars in binary-star systems. For this award, she will give an invited talk as part of the Division of Astrophysics' 2013 Early Career Recognition Lectures at a special session of the 2013 April meeting of the American Physical Society.

    Francesca joined the Ph.D. program in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, working on high energy physics with Prof. Bruno Gobbi. One year after, she joined Prof. Vicky Kalogera's group in CIERA and began working on theoretical astrophysics. Francesca received her doctorate in September 2012. Her thesis was titled, "Compact Objects In Binary Systems: Formation and Evolution of X-ray Binaries and Tides in Double White Dwarfs".

    She is currently continuing her research at Northwestern University as a postdoctoral associate, working with Prof. Fred Rasio and Prof. Kalogera.

    Congratulations, Francesca!
October 2012
  • Prof. Vicky Kalogera was appointed as a member of the Scientific Advisory Board for the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Potsdam, Germany.

    The Institute’s scientific advisory and assessment Board is made up of internationally renowned physicists. The Board advises the President of the Max Planck Society (MPG) on how effectively the Directors are managing the work of the Institute. Their advice helps the Directors to establish priorities and improve their management. The Scientific Advisory Board is the main tool used by the MPG to evaluate its research institutes to ensure appropriate and effective development of funds. Every two years the members of the Board meet for several days to evaluate the Institute and to prepare a report to the President of the MPG.
August 2012
  • After three years as a CIERA post-doctoral associate, Dr. Diego Fazi will be moving to a new post-doctoral pos1ition in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division at the Argonne National Laboratory. At CIERA, and as a graduate student, Diego studied gravitational-wave astronomy: he worked with high-performance computers to understand how the motions and collisions of stars can generate waves in the fabric of space and time, via gravity.

    At Argonne, he will channel his computational and applied math skills into pursuing his passion for renewable energies: Diego will be working on the development of fuels that can be created using solar energy. (One of the most famous examples of this process is using solar power to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, to isolate hydrogen as a fuel.) Of course, if we can make fuels using solar power, those fuels will help us to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. But, to produce large quantities of these fuels, engineers need specially designed substances called catalysts that help speed the production of the fuel. Diego will be using high-performance computers, and his experience with algorithms developed for gravitational-wave studies, to analyze X-ray measurements of these catalysts and understand their structure. His work on these catalysts will help scientists make progress towards the goal of developing new, abundant, renewable energy sources for the world.
June 2012
  • Kyle Kremer was awarded honors for his outstanding research, "Spin Tilts in the Double Pulsar Reveal Supernova Spin Angular-Momentum Production".
  • Dan Stevens was awarded honors for his outstanding research, "Interpolation Techniques for MCMC Parameter Estimation on Compact Binary Coalescence Graviational-Wave Signals" and received the "Outstanding Senior Thesis in Physics and Astronomy" award for 2012!.
  • Carl Rodriguez received honorable mention (joint second place) and a 100-euro prize at the GWPAW 2012 meeting! Poster Title: "Inadequacies of the Fisher Matrix in the Advanced Detector Era". More details here
May 2012
  • Alex Ayerdi has been awarded a Weinberg Undergraduate Research Grant in the amount of $3000.00. His specific research consists of learning about and implementing the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) to optimize the processing time of data coming from the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO). More info here.
  • Kevin Broh-Kahn, has been awarded a Northwestern University Summer Undergraduate Research Grant. Congratulations Kevin! The title of his independent research project is: "Performance and Data Analysis of Parallel Monte Carlo Algorithm for Simulating Dense Stellar Systems".
  • Ben Farr, Physics & Astronomy graduate student, an NSF Graduate Fellow, and a member of Prof. Vicky Kalogera's group , has been elected Student Representative for the American Physical Society's Topical Group in Gravitation. The names of all 2012 GGR officers are here. Here is a little more information about the Topical Group in Gravitation.
  • Kyle Kremer, will be presenting a talk titled "Spin Tilts in the Double Pulsar Reveal Supernova Spin Angular-Momentum Production" at the Undergraduate Research and Arts Exposition - Monday, May 21st! The talk will be part of the Developments and Innovations in Science and Engineering panel which takes place from 1pm-2:30pm in the Lake Room on the second floor of Norris. More details here
  • Dan Stevens, will be presenting his poster, Interpolation Techniques for MCMC Parameter Estimation on Compact Binary Coalescence Gravitational-wave Signals, in Louis 205 (Norris) in the afternoon session, 2:30-4. More details here
  • "Predictions for the Rates of Compact Binary Coalescences Observable by Ground-Based Gravitational-Wave Detectors" becomes most-cited in its journal, Classical and Quantum Gravity. Click here for more details
February 2012
  • Dr. Tyson Littenberg accepts offer for a research postdoctoral position in our gravitational-wave group, a group member of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Tyson will join us following his postdoctoral position at the University of Maryland and NASA's Goddard Flight Center. His primary research will focus on extracting physical information from LIGO/Virgo gravitational-wave signals.
  • Graduate student Vivien Raymond accepted an offer for the Richard Chase Tolman Postdoctoral fellowship in Experimental Physics; he will be moving to Caltech following his PhD graduation in Summer 2012. He works in Kalogera's research group on physical parameter estimation of gravitational waves from binary coalescence with spinning compact objects within the LIGO Scientific Collaboration. Congratulations Vivien!
  • Dan Stevens has been selected to receive the J. G. Nolan Scholarship for the 2011-2012 academic year. The scholarship money is replacing funds from another financial aid grant that NU gave to Dan previously, so it's being applied towards tuition (and the like) for the Winter and Spring Quarter.
January 2012
  • Tsing Wai Wong, a graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, won a CIC - Smithsonian Institution Predoctoral Fellowship! Tsing Wai is a member of Prof. Vicky Kalogera's research group. Tsing Wai is 1 of 6 students to be awarded this fellowship. He will receive a stipend of $30,000 for one year, and conduct research at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO). He will work with Dr. Jeffrey E. McClintock and Dr. Ramesh Narayan at the SAO, who will be his research adviser and co-adviser. His fellowship starts on Aug 1, 2012 and ends on July 31, 2013. He will work on modeling the observed X-ray binaries in our Galaxy, which all host a black hole. The goal is to find out the progenitor mass of the black hole and the possible momentum kick imparted to the black hole during its formation through a core collapse event. He will also work on the hydrodynamics simulation of core collapse supernova to check whether the current core collapse theory can match the results he found in modeling the observed X-ray binaries. He will collaborate with Dr. Chris Fryer of the Los Alamos National Laboratory for the hydrodynamics simulations of core collapse.

  • Kyle Kremer, a senior double-majoring in Physics and Trumpet Performance (trumpet and flugelhorn), and a Goldwater Scholar and a Robert C. Byrd Scholar, has won the Churchill Scholarship! Kyle conducts research on compact objects in binary systems in Prof. Vicky Kalogera's group. With the Churchill Scholarship, Kyle will be pursuing a Masters of Advanced Study degree in theoretical astrophysics at the University of Cambridge. Kyle is 1 of 14 students across the United States who won this prestigious award. The Churchill Scholarship will pay all of his University and College fees (approximately $25,000), a living allowance of £13,000 for the twelve-month program, up to $1,000 for one round trip airfare from the United States to the United Kingdom, the cost of his student visa for the United Kingdom, and an additional travel stipend of $500.00. He is also eligible for a Special Research Grant of up to $2,000. Kyle will do a Master of Advanced Study in Astronomy, a new program where he will combine courses in Astrophysics and Mathematics with research in astrophysical fluid dynamics and accretion discs. After Cambridge, Kyle plans to do a doctorate in Theoretical Astrophysics in the United States. For a story from the Northwestern University NewsCenter, see Trumpeting a Music/Science Combo. The TribLocal also did a story on Kyle. See Northwestern music student hits high note with astrophysics. Congratulations Kyle!
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