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AST News

AST graduate students win awards at 231st American Astronomical Society meeting

January 12, 2018

Posters presented by AST Ph.D. students Yashashree Jadhav and Chi Nguyen earned them both Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Awards at the 2018 Winter meeting of the AAS in Washington DC, this January. Yashashree and Chi were among only 6 graduate students selected for these awards. They were part of a large RIT contingent at the meeting, including some 15 students, post-docs, faculty and alumni. As well as the award winners,  Jesse Bublitz and Annie Dickson-Vandervelde also presented posters, while Kristina Punzi, Kevin Cooke, Jake Lange and recent alumna Dr. Triana Almeyda ('17) all gave talks. In his capacity as the current chair of the AAS Committee on Employment, Dr. Joel Kastner, interim AST Program Director, oversaw a wide range of career and professional development events and workshops, ably assisted by AST alumnus and fellow committee member Dr. Rudy Montez (’10).

AST graduate students: (left to right) K.Cooke, Y.Jadhav, J. Bublitz, C.Nguyen, K.Punzi, and A.Dickson-Vandervelde

AST PhD student's Mysterious "Winking" Star research published and highlighted by NASA

December 21, 2017

Kristina Punzi, AST PhD Student, published a paper concerning a mysterious "winking" star RZ Piscium, that suddenly dims by a factor of 10-20 in brightness. Her paper describes her research team’s new XMM-Newton X-ray and ground-based (Keck and Lick Observatory) optical spectroscopy results that (a) nail down the youth of the star and (b) provide strong evidence that the star's dimming is most likely caused by the intermittently intervening wreckage of one or more giant planet(s) now being "eaten" by the star.

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AST had the largest contingent of student presenters at the Astronomical Society of New York's annual meeting

November 10, 2017

On November 10-11, AST students, faculty, and postdocs attended the annual meeting of the Astronomical Society of New York at Union College in Schenectady, NY. Three students (Kevin Cooke, Yashashree Jahdav, and Chi Nguyen) gave talks at the meeting while five students (Victoria Butler, Annie Dickson Vandervelde, Trent Seelig, Meaghann Stoelting, and Brittany Vanderhoof) presented posters. AST had the largest contingent of student presenters at the meeting and all were well-received.

AST Faculty Michael Zemcov, as a member of the SPHEREx mission proposal team, wins 2 million NASA grant

August 31, 2017
Dr. Michael Zemcov is a co-I on the SPHEREx mission proposal, led by principal investigator James Bock, receiving a $2 million NASA grant to conduct a 9 month concept study. Dr. Zemcov’s main involvement will be on data reduction and analysis of the mission as well as other aspects of science and technology development.  

AST Faculty in LIGO-Virgo Scientific Collaboration help pinpoint merger

September 27, 2017

Mapping black hole collisions gives astronomers (and hitchhikers) a new guide, RIT researchers in LIGO-Virgo Scientific Collaboration help pinpoint merger.  AST faculty researchers helped pinpoint the precise location of a gravitational wave signal—and the black hole merger that produced it—detected by gravitational wave observatories in the United States and in Europe. Full Article

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