13 June 2012
Caroline Caldwell has been selected as this year's recipient of the Ralph Cutler Greene Award. This $2500 scholarship is awarded annually to one of our most outstanding senior Astronomy students at the University of Texas. Service to the department, University and community at large were considered in addition to quality research and academic performance.
Regarding their research on blazars, Beverly Wills writes, "Our project involved a comparison of linear-polarization position angles at optical and radio (5, 8, 15 GHz) frequencies for jets in a a sample of blazars, in order to understand magnetic field directions and the acceleration of relativistic particles emitting Doppler boosted synchrotron radiation. This radiation, highly variable on time-scales of days to years, extends from radio though gamma-ray frequencies, and our data set covers many years of optical and radio observations. Caroline was very quick to learn IDL and TOPCAT software and independently figured out how to manipulate tables of columns, and produced histograms of polarization angles, radio-optical differences etc. showing differences between low- and high-power jets. She has very successfully presented several posters/talks on our project."
Caroline is already co-author of 2 important refereed papers with Mike Endl (Welsh et al. (2012) Nature, vol. 481, p. 475, and an associated catalogue, as well as and Robertson et al. (2012) Astrophysical Journal, vol. 749, p. 39. She will be a co-author on a unique blazar polarization paper with Dr. Beverly Wills as well. She also has 5 non-refereed abstracts (American Astronomical Society 2011 and 2012: Nos. 21714265 and 21924503 (first author), and nos. 21912501, 21924326, and 21943204). Caroline has given two poster presentations at undergraduate research symposia at The University of Texas, and presented posters at AAS.
Mike Endl writes "Caroline has grown into a full member of our exoplanet observing team and we entrusted her with the responsibilities to obtain data for our regular program as well as for the Kepler mission follow-up program."
Caroline is also active in public service and outreach. She was the summer intern at McDonald Observatory, and that experience led her to write for the online StarDate Magazine series, ‚"What are Astronomers Doing Tonight," involving interviews with observing astronomers (http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/research/). In addition, Caroline is a member of the Astronomy Students Association and served on the Undergraduate Faculty Search Committee.
After graduation, Caroline will attend graduate school in astronomy at Liverpool John Moores University.