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AST News

RIT AST Graduate Students & Faculty among group whose work confirms Einstein’s theories November 2015

Feb. 11, 2016
Detection by international LIGO Collaborative opens new window on the universe with detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes 

RIT CCRG researchers who contributed to this amazing discovery include AST Students: Jam Sadiq, Brennan Ireland, Yuanhao (Harry) Zhang, Dennis Bowen, Jake Lange, & Zachary Silberman and AST Faculty: John Whelan, Jason Nordhaus, Carlos Lousto, Manuela Campanelli, Johsua Faber, & Yosef Zlochower.  Also including Physics Undergradute student Monica Rizzo. 


AST Faculty & Student participate in Evan Dawson's Monthly Science Roundtable

Feb. 1, 2016

RIT's Senior Lecturer Brian Koberlein, Professor Michael Richmond, and Ph.D. student Kevin Cooke join radio host Evan Dawson's Monthly Science Roundtable for adiscussion about a possible Planet Nine beyond the orbit of Pluto. The evidence for the claim as well as possible problems with the evidence are examined as they take questions from the audience about the claim and planetary science.

2015 AST Ph.D. graduate finds evidence for a newborn planet around a nearby, young star

January, 2016
This work was directly motivated by Valerie’s Ph.D. dissertation project, in which she obtained very similar Gemini Planet Imager results for another nearby, young star (V4046 Sgr).
Observations from the Gemini Planet Imager confirm the presence of a gap in the dusty disk surrounding the nearby star TW Hydrae. Click for a full view! [Adapted from Rapson et al. 2015]

RIT professor shares black-hole research at supercomputing conference

November 2015
RIT professor shares black-hole research at supercomputing conference Nov. 18: Manuela Campanelli gives invited talk at SC 2015
Campanelli, director of the Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at RIT, will present “Revealing the Hidden Universe with Supercomputer Simulations of Black Hole Mergers” on Nov. 18. She will share recent developments in the field of numerical relativity and relativistic astrophysics.

AST Faculty Andy Robinson and AST Phd Students presented at Torus 2015 Workshop

September 14, 2015

Dr. Andy Robinson, recent AST graduate Dr. Davide Lena and current AST Ph.D. student Triana Almeyda presented results from several research projects at the Torus 2015 Workshop, hosted by the University of Southhampton in Winchester, UK, September 14 - 17. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss recent progress in understanding the so-called "dusty molecular torus", that surrounds the central supermassive back holes in active galactic nuclei. Triana was selected to give an oral presentation on her work developing computer simulations of the time-dependent response of the infrared dust emission from the torus to variations in the AGN luminosity. Dr. Robinson’s team also presented posters based on three recent publications, led by Dr. Lena (, AST Ph.D. student Billy Vazquez ( and former post-doc Dr. Dinalva Sales ( 

RIT on TV: RIT Alumna Valerie Rapson encourages women in STEM - on WNYT

September, 2015
Valerie Rapson a PhD graduate of the AST Program at RIT now leads outreach efforts at the Dudley Observatory in Schenectady, NY.
Her goal is to provide hands-on experience for students - especially female and minority students - in the hope that more will be engaged and pursue education and careers in the sciences. 

AST Faculty Joel Kastner and his former AST PhD student Rudy Montez paper selected as High Impact

August 2015
Of the 15 papers selected as high impact research publications in the focus areas of the forthcoming International Astronomical Union General Assembly, two were led by members or graduates of AST.
One by Joel Kastner and his former AST PhD student Rudy Montez (2010):
J. H. Kastner, R. Montez Jr., B. Balick et al. 2012 ,The Astronomical Journal 144 58
The other by AST PhD graduate Fabio Antonini (2011, advised by David Merritt):
Fabio Antonini, 2013, ApJ 763 62

Summer 2015 Astrophysical Sciences & Technology Ph.D. Dissertation Defenses:

August 2015
Astrophysical Sciences & Technology Ph.D. Dissertation Defenses: 
Thursday, August 6, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Carlson Center 76-1125
Friday, August 7, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. Carlson Center 76-1125
Monday, August 10, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Carlson Center 76-1125