Texas Cosmology Network Meeting: September 14-15
27 July 2006
The first Texas Cosmology Network Meeting will be held September 14-15, in the Eastwoods Room (2.102) at the Texas
Union. (map) The meeting will bring
together first-rank active cosmologists from the universities within Texas to discuss important topics and future
directions in Cosmology, such as the Dark Energy problem. To stimulate frequent interaction between
Texan cosmologists, the event will also establish the Texas Cosmology Network. The meeting is organized by the departments of
Astronomy and Physics.
Dark Energy, String Theory Featured as
Faculty Grows at Texas A&M
The Houston Chronicle
2 July 2006
College Station, TX --For years, the Becker sisters shared their physics research in string theory, but
not an address. Melanie worked at the University of Maryland while Katrin toiled at the University of
Utah. They expected to spend their careers separated by states. And then Texas A&M University offered
the up-and-coming scholars something no other place had: each other. The school wanted the Beckers
for an emerging institute specializing in their branch of physics.
Remarkable Flow of Data from CTI-II at McDonald Will Serve
a Broad Community
University of New Mexico Press Release
21 May 2006
Albuquerque, NM --Astronomers at the University of New Mexico are developing an exciting new telescope
with capabilities that are unrivaled in astronomy circles. The CCD/Transit Instrument with Innovative
Instrumentation, or CTI-II, is a special-purpose telescope where accuracy and precision are the key components
allowing for unprecedented research opportunities. The ground-based telescope does not move to survey
the sky, a feature that allows for more precise measurements of brightness and position.
Beth Fernandez, Robert Quimby and Lucas Cieza Awarded
Fellowships for 2006-2007
30 May 2006
Graduate Astronomy students Beth Fernandez and Robert Quimby have won, respectively, a Continuing University
Fellowship and a University Tuition Fellowship for 2006-2007. Having been previously awarded the William S. Livingston Graduate
Fellowship, Lucas Cieza will instead receive the Donald D. Harrington Fellowship, among the most prestigious
fellowships available to graduate students at the University of Texas. Lucas is also the recipient of the 2006 William S. Livingston
Outstanding Graduate Student Academic Employee Award.
Extrasolar Planet Discovery by Diverse Group of Professional and
Amateur Astronomers Confirmed with HET
Boston University Press Release
18 May 2006
Boston, MA --An international team of professional and amateur astronomers, using simple off-the-shelf equipment
to trawl the skies for planets outside our solar system, has hauled in its first "catch." The astronomers discovered a
Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a Sun-like star 600 light-years from Earth in the constellation Corona Borealis.
VLBA/HET Confirm Tightest Pair of Supermassive Black Holes
National Radio Astronomy Observatory Press Release
2 May 2006
Socorro, NM --Astronomers using the National Science Foundation's Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) radio telescope have found the
closest pair of supermassive black holes ever discovered in the Universe -- a duo of monsters that together are more than
150 million times more massive than the Sun and closer together than the Earth and the bright star Vega. "These two giant
black holes are only about 24 light-years apart, and that's more than 100 times closer than any pair found before," said
Cristina Rodriguez, of the University of New Mexico (UNM) and Simon Bolivar University in Venezuela.
Department of Astronomy Award Winners: Kyle Penner,
Chad Gardner, Justin Lowrey and Douglas Steimle
2 May 2006
The Undergraduate Studies Executive Committee has announced the winners of four Department of Astronomy
Awards. The Karl G. Henize endowed scholarship, for excellent academic performance, goes to Kyle Penner. For excellent
overall performance, the Board of Visitors (BoV) scholarship is awarded to Chad Gardner. The Outstanding Senior Award,
recognizing outstanding overall performance, is awarded to Justin Lowrey. The Astronomy Freshman Prize for Excellence is awarded
to Douglas Steimle.
Public Lecture in Physics: "Emergence of Order in Physical, Chemical, and
26 April 2006
The Department of Physics holds the second lecture in the Modern Development of Physics Lecture Series
Friday, April 28 at 7:30 PM at the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, Room 1.110
Professor Harry Swinney, Sid W. Richardson Foundation Regents Chair in Physics, will deliver the talk,
"Emergence of Order in Physical, Chemical, and Biological Systems". Professor Sweeney will discuss how recognizable patterns in nature,
though formed in vastly different systems, can sometimes be understood from a common approach. The lecture is free and
open to the public.
Astronomy Undergrads Use Research Opportunities;
Additional Funding Still Available
13 April 2006
Four Astronomy Undergraduates recently presented research at the
College of Natural Sciences Undergraduate Research Forum 2006. Liz Hill-Aiello, Ashley Davis, Ross Falcon
and Kyle Penner found opportunities with Astronomy Department researchers studying black holes, galaxy
mergers and the local interstellar medium. Undergraduate students are encouraged to explore the
opportunites and funding still available.
UT Physics Launches Lecture Series to Celebrate 1905,
Einstein's Miracle Year
8 February 2006
Prof. Steven Weinberg will deliver the first public talk of the Modern Development of Physics Lecture Series,
"Much Ado About Nothing--How the Energy of Empty Space
Became a Central Concern of Today's Physics and Cosmology," Wednesday, February 15, at 7:30 PM, in Room 1.110 of the
Joe C. Thompson Conference Center
Einstein wrote five articles in 1905 that are the cornerstone of modern physics. To recognize the centennial
of Einstein's productive year, the United Nations designated 2005 "The World Year of Physics".
Public Lecture: The Unraveling of Powerful Cosmic Explosions
30 January 2006
Prof. Pawan Kumar will present the public lecture "The Unraveling of Powerful Cosmic Explosions," Saturday, February 4, 2006, at 1:00 PM,
in ACES 2.302. Prof. Kumar will discuss
recent observations of Gamma-ray Bursts, astoundingly powerful, and until just recently, mysterious explosions that are detected on
a daily basis, randomly throughout the sky. The public talk is part of the Great Lectures in Astronomy series, sponsored by the Department of
Astronomy and McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors.
Innovative Search Technique Suggests New Era for Planet Detection
Penn State Press Release
26 January 2006
A team of scientists, including two Penn State astronomers, have used
an innovative new technique to discover a Jupiter-sized planet orbiting a nearby star. The planet initially was
detected using an instrument called the Exoplanet Tracker (ET) and may herald an era where the searches for
such planets will become much more efficient. The discovery was announced at the recent meeting of the
American Astronomical Society in Washington, D.C.