Graduate Program in the News

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Wenbin Lu Wins Board of Visitors Graduate Student Second Year Defense Award

wenbin lu

Wenbin Lu

June 2015

Wenbin Lu has won this year's Board of Visitors Graduate Student Second Year Research Defense Award for his project entitled "External Inverse-Compton Emission from Jetted Tidal Disruption Events". Wenbin has been working with Dr. Pawan Kumar on theoretical high energy astrophysics, specifically on gamma-ray bursts and tidal disruption events. He is particularly interested in the radiative processes in relativistic jets and the properties of the radiation field surrounding the jets.

Hyunbae Park Wins University Outstanding Masters Thesis Award

hyunbae park

Hyunbae Park

April 2015

Hyunbae Park (Supervised by Paul Shapiro) has been selected as a recipient of the Graduate School/University Co-op Award for Outstanding masters thesis. Only 3 awards were given in this University-wide competition.

Hyunbae's thesis, entitled The Kinetic Sunyaev-Zel'Dovich Effect as a Probe of the Physics of Cosmic Reionization: the Effect of Self-Regulated Reionization, is about the imprint of the first generation of galaxies formed during the first billion years after the Big Bang on the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). As the early galaxies ionized their surrounding gas, photons consisting CMB were scattered by free electron as they pass through the gas. During the scatter, motion of gas led to a Doppler shift of scattered photons that is being measured by the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT) today. Hyunbae calculated how strong the imprint will be for the scenarios of the early universe simulated by Dr. Shapiro's group. SPT and ACT will soon be able to tell which of the scenarios correctly describes the real universe.

Wenbin Lu Wins Named Fellowship

wenbin lu

Wenbin Lu

March 2015

Wenbin Lu has been selected by the Graduate School for a named continuing fellowship. The fellowship includes a full 12 months of support for the 2015/2016 year.

Under the supervision of Pawan Kumar, Wenbin has investigated ways of finding out observationally whether massive stars that collapse to produce gamma-ray bursts are in binary systems or in a rich star forming cluster as one would expect for massive stars. The method he has suggested is to look for photons from the companion star (or other stars in the cluster) scattered by electrons in the GRB jet to very high energies (> 100 MeV). In the paper he recently submitted for publication, he has predicted the flux of high energy photons that an observatory such as Fermi should see.

He has two additional papers in the works regarding the disruption of a star by the tidal gravity of a supermassive blackhole when the trajectory of the star passes close to the blackhole.

Pi Day (3/14/15)

March 2015

pi artwork

[Click to enlarge]

aaron juarez

Aaron Juarez

The university community was asked to submit artistic interpretations of Pi, the beloved mathematical constant, for a virtual gallery in celebration of Pi Day this past weekend. First-year grad student Aaron Juarez contributed two pieces of original art. He used Python's Numpy and matplotlib to envision these works.