Summer 2021

In addition to exciting JHU undergraduate research in Astrophysics described below, Profs. Ibrahima Bah and Kevin Schlaufman directed the inaugural class of Rowland Fellows, a partnership between JHU and the National Society of Black Physicists. Rowland Fellows were fully funded by Maryland Space Grant, private departmental funds and federal research funds to work across all areas of Physics and Astronomy represented in our department. 

In Astrophysics, we have continued with a packed schedule of undergraduate research activities: 
In Prof. Tobias Marriage’s group,

Yiqi (Andrew) Liu (JHU U2023) developed algorithms for masking cosmic microwave background polarization data in the presence of Galactic emission.  

Sarai Rankin (Morgan State U2023) simulated cosmic microwave background data and estimated their angular power spectrum with the aim of developing internal consistency checks for the data.  

Lucie Afko (JHU U2023) designed elements of new 40 GHz cryogenic detectors for the cosmic microwave background.  

Seti Norris (JHU U2024) developed the design for a new polarization modulator for cosmic microwave background observations.  

Stefan Arseneau (JHU U2024) conducted simulations and designed lab tests of novel infrared filters for cosmic microwave background observations.  

Oliver Wolff (JHU U2023) analyzed polarized microwave scattering from ice particles in clouds important for ground-based cosmic microwave background polarization measurements.

In Prof. Kevin Schlaufman’s group, 

Courtney Carreira (JHU U2023), Keyi Ding (JHU U2024), and Ying Qin (JHU U2024) used all available astrometric and photometric data to confirm the spectroscopic metallicities of nearby metal-poor dwarf stars. Prof. Schlaufman and his colleagues are monitoring these stars for the presence of transiting exoplanets in an effort to resolve the uncertain physical process(es) responsible for the formation of planetary embryos. The group is supported by TESS Cycle 2 Guest Investigator Grant.

Zachary Reeves (JHU U2022) used Sloan Digital Sky Survey data to quantify the occurrence of a unique class of metal-poor stars that may hold the key to confirming the astrophysical progenitors of Type Ia supernovae (the thermonuclear explosions used by Adam Riess and others to discover the accelerating expansion of the universe). Zachary was supported by JHU Summer Provost’s Undergraduate Research Award (PURA). 

In Prof. Nadia Zakamska’s group,

Vedant Chandra (JHU U2021), finished two papers on white dwarfs. His paper on the discovery of a white dwarf – white dwarf binary star with a 99-min orbital period is the first scientific paper of the SDSS-V survey and was featured in the SDSS-V meeting plenary talk! 

Gavin Fezenko (JHU U2021) finished his Summer 2020 project and submitted a paper presenting the discovery of eight quadruple star systems for publication. 

Brandon Stride (JHU U2023) and Kyle Schneider (JHU U2023) have continued their investigation of variable stars in the dataset from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer. 

This group was co-supervised by Dr. Hsiang-Chih Hwang and Dr. David Nataf and supported by Space@Hopkins, IDIES and NASA. 

Thanks to the efforts of Joshua Lothringer (JHU) and Carolyn Slivinski (STScI), we have continued with a exciting slew of research and career development presentations for our summer interns:

6/8/2021 Introduction to using BlueJeans — Thomas Marufu (STScI)
6/10/2021 Active Galactic Nuclei — Erini Lambrides (JHU)
6/15/2021 Exoplanets — Sarah Moran (JHU)
6/17/2021 New Instrumentation under development at JHU/IDG — Massimo Robberto (STScI)
6/22/2021 Cosmology/CLASS — Tobias Marriage (JHU)
6/24/2021 Investigating Galaxies with Deep Learning — John Wu (STScI)
6/29/2021 Deep Fields and Galaxy Evolution — Harry Ferguson (STScI)
7/1/2021 STScI Technical Staff Career Paths — Multiple speakers
7/6/2021 Astrometry and planet detection in the age of Gaia — Serge Dieterich (STScI)
7/8/2021 Hot Jupiters and Brown Dwarfs — Josh Lothringer (JHU)
7/13/2021 Planetary Systems and the Prospect for Life in the Stellar Graveyard — Dean C. Hines (STScI)
7/15/2021 The Value of Outreach — Multiple speakers (STScI)
7/20/2021 James Webb Space Telescope — Alexandra Lockwood (STScI)
7/22/2021 Growing Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxies; dance demo of galaxy mergers! — Andreea Petric (STScI)
7/27/2021 Studying our Endoplanetary System with JWST — Bryan Holler (STScI)
7/29/2021 Summer intern experience — Nimisha Kumari (STScI)
8/3/2021 Exocomets and the gaseous component of debris disks — Isabel Rebollido (STScI)