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Cosmology

  • John Feldmeier was the first to apply the PNLF method to spiral galaxies. His paper with undergraduates Rachel Kuzio de Naray and Mary Beth Laychak also produced the first robust connection of the Popuation I and Population II distance ladders.
  • For his undergraduate honors thesis, George Trammell studied the UV/optical properties of the spectral energy distributions of optically-selected quasars based upon data obtained from the GALEX satellite and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
  • As part of his PhD thesis, Jiajian Shen examined the properties of massive black holes that reside in low-redshift active galactic nuclei.
  • As part of this PhD thesis, Jian Wu studied the Baldwin Effect (the inverse correlation between line strength and continuum luminosity) in a sample of quasars; the data included observations from  variety of X-ray and ultraviolet satellites and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.
  • For his undergraduate honors thesis, Michael Peth combined optical data taken by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and infrared observations from the United Kingdom Infrared Digital Sky Survey to create a large catalog of quasars.

Exoplanets and Brown Dwarfs

  • Stephen Redman helped to develop the Pathfinder spectrograph for searching for planetary companions to low-mass stars via radial velocity measurements at infrared wavelengths. He also has produced a new atlas of calibrations of hollow cathode lamps for use in infrared spectroscopy.
  • Kamen Todorov discovered a planetary-mass companion to a young brown dwarf using high-resolution images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Amanda Morrow used spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope to show that grain growth in disks -- one of first steps in planet formation -- may occur faster for brown dwarfs than for stars.

Extragalactic Astronomy

  • Kim Herrmann was the first to derive dynamical masses for both the inner and outer disks of large spiral galaxies, showing that a) the disks of early-type spirals have higher mass-to-light ratios than late-type spirals, b) the extreme outer disks of many spirals are likely flared by interactions with dark matter subhalos, and c) there is no evidence for the dark matter cusps predicted by Lambda-CMD cosmological models.
  • Jianfeng Wu has led the best X-ray studies of mini-BAL quasars to date, and he is currently leading research on a potential class of intrinsically X-ray weak quasars.
  • lBin Luo led X-ray and multiwavelength studies of active galaxies in deep X-ray surveys, particularly the Chandra Deep Field-South. He won the Department's 2009 Downsborough Graduate Fellowship.
  • Jason Young has used H-alpha measurements for a nearby sample of galaxies to calibrate mid- and far-infrared luminosity as a star-formation rate diagnostic, which are important for estimates of star formation rates in galaxies at high redshifts.
  • Brendan Miller used X-ray and multiwavelength data to provide new insights into jets and outflows in radio-loud quasars.
  • While searching for intracluster stars in the M81 group, Megan DeCesar discovered a pair of dwarf galaxies recently formed out of the tidal interaction that occurred 280 Myr ago, which are amongst the closest examples of the tidal dwarf galaxy phenomenon.
  • Bret Lehmer characterized the X-ray properties and evolution of cosmologically distant galaxies using the deepest X-ray surveys.  He won the Department's 2007 Downsborough Graduate Fellowship and an Einstein Fellowship.
  • Ann Hornschemeier obtained the the first measurements of the X-ray properties of cosmologically distant starburst and normal galaxies. She won a Chandra Fellowship and the Annie J. Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society.
  • Sarah Gallagher conducted pioneering X-ray studies of the winds in broad absorption line quasars using sensitive hard X-ray data. She won a Spitzer Fellowship.
  • Dennis Just led the best X-ray survey to date of the properties of the most-luminous quasars in the Universe.
  • Lee Bassett led a Chandra survey of some of the first radio-loud quasars to form in the Universe.

High Energy Astrophysics

  • Jianfeng Wu has led the best X-ray studies of mini-BAL quasars to date, and he is currently leading research on a potential class of intrinsically X-ray weak quasars.
  • Judy Racusin carried out the definitive study of X-ray light curves for GRBs. Her work covered nearly 100 objects and uniformly treated the appearance or non-appearance of jet breaks, allowing physically relevant constraints on the energy of the internal explosions powering GRBs.
  • Bin Luo led X-ray and multiwavelength studies of active galaxies in deep X-ray surveys, particularly the Chandra Deep Field-South. He won the Department's 2009 Downsborough Graduate Fellowship.
  • Haoning He found that the GeV emission at the earliest times from a short GRB cannot be explained by an external foward shock synchrotron model, contrary to the results of previous studies.
  • Peter Brown performed the definitive study of UV light curves of Supernovae using the Swift satellite. His work expanded the number of well studied light curves by more than an order of magnitude and will be critical to studies of the extra-galactic distance scale using Type Ia supernovae.
  • Brendan Miller used X-ray and multiwavelength data to provide new insights into jets and outflows in radio-loud quasars.
  • Adam Morgan determined the optimal co-addition for obtaining the maximum sensitivity for Swift UVOT images.
  • Koji Mori discovered relativistic motion in the Crab Nebula.
  • Bret Lehmer characterized the X-ray properties and evolution of cosmologically distant galaxies using the deepest X-ray surveys.  He won the Department's 2007 Downsborough Graduate Fellowship and an Einstein Fellowship.
  • Ann Hornschemeier obtained the the first measurements of the X-ray properties of cosmologically distant starburst and normal galaxies. She won a Chandra Fellowship and the Annie J. Cannon Award of the American Astronomical Society.
  • Sarah Gallagher conducted pioneering X-ray studies of the winds in broad absorption line quasars using sensitive hard X-ray data. She won a Spitzer Fellowship.
  • Dennis Just led the best X-ray survey to date of the properties of the most-luminous quasars in the Universe.
  • Lee Bassett led a Chandra survey of some of the first radio-loud quasars to form in the Universe.

Neutron Stars

  • Oleg Kargaltsev detected a millisecond pulsar at UV wavelengths for the first time.
  • Oleg Kargaltsev discovered the long, strongly collimated and variable jet of the Vela pulsar.

Particle Astrophysics

  • Shan Gao calculated the neutrino production and the escaping spectrum from Population III GRBs, as well as the detection probability by large Antarctic detectors such as IceCube and ARIANNA.
  • Tyler Anderson designed and constructed an improved readout electronics system for the CREAM experiment, and is exploring the energy spectrum of the more massive cosmic rays (iron and sub-iron).
  • Matt Geske developed the plastic scintillators for the veto shield of the CREST experiment, and is looking for cosmic electrons in a regime never explored previously.

Star Formation

  • Kamen Todorov discovered a planetary-mass companion to a young brown dwarf using high-resolution images from the Hubble Space Telescope.
  • Amanda Morrow used spectra from the Spitzer Space Telescope to show that grain growth in disks -- one of first steps in planet formation -- may occur faster for brown dwarfs than for stars.