Summer 2022

We continued with an exciting schedule of in-person and remote undergraduate research in Summer 2022. A busy series of presentations for summer undergraduates (see below) culminated in two days of presentations by students about their research projects. In addition to projects listed below, Rowland Fellows (program led by Profs. Schlaufman and Bah) — visiting undergraduate researchers across all areas of physics — were hosted by the department in Summer 2022.  

Orbital evolution of the Paschen-beta emission line of a cataclysmic variable. The line contains two components which originate from physically distinct regions, but each varies from blueshift to redshift and back to blueshift at the orbital period of the source (83 min). These data will allow us to build a geometric model of a white dwarf accreting from a brown dwarf. Figure made by Andrew Liu, Hsiang-Chih Hwang and Nadia Zakamska.

In Prof. Schlaufman’s group: 

Keyi Ding worked on determining stellar parameters of stars in open clusters using isochrones analysis. Stars in open clusters are stars with similar ages and metallicities, and their physical properties provide valuable insight into the study of stellar evolution and exoplanets. 

In Prof. Kamionkowski’s group:

Valeria Ventura worked on modeling the cross-correlation function of the gamma-ray diffuse extragalactic signal. This analysis is relevant for tackling one of the most interesting open problems in astrophysics — the nature of the extragalactic diffuse gamma-ray background at giga electron-volt energies.

In Prof. Krolik’s group:

Minjae Kim used harm3D, a specialized magneto-hydrodynamics code, to study how accretion disk would affect the evolution of a black hole binary, assuming realistic thermal models.

In Prof. Sing’s group:

Chris Wang explored a variety of methods to analyze upcoming lightcurves of transiting planet candidates from the James Webb Space Telescope. 

In Prof. Zakamska’s group: 

Summer students were co-advised by Hsiang-Chih Hwang, a postdoc at the Institute for Advanced Study, and Vedant Chandra, a graduate student at Harvard, both formerly from Zakamska’s group, as well as by David Nataf, and group meetings were organized by Yuzo Ishikawa: 

Stefan Arseneau is analyzing spectra of white dwarfs in wide binaries with normal stars on the main sequence, allowing him to measure the gravitational redshift of the emission from the surface of the white dwarf and therefore probe the white dwarf equation of state. 

Eric Ding developed fitting tools to extract information about eccentricities of close binary stars from their lightcurves. 

Andrew Liu analyzed multi-wavelength data on an intriguing cataclysmic variable — a close binary system containing a white dwarf and a brown dwarf — and discovered various relationships between its emission properties and orbital phase. 

Antonella Macoretta fitted spectra of white dwarfs in the Sloan Digital Sky survey with the goal to disentangle the effects of radial velocity and surface temperature on the gravitational redshift measurement. 

Kyle Schneider continued his project to produce a catalog of Mira variables associated with globular clusters to tackle the dependence of Miras’ period-luminosity relationship on their metallicity. 

Katherine Song searched for period changes in short-period eclipsing binary stars with the goal of discovering objects on the path to a stellar merger. 

Brandon Stride continued his project to characterize variability of young stellar objects in the database of the WISE satellite and discovered an evolutionary progression in these sources’ variability properties. 

Summer talk series (organized by Carolyn Slivinski, Yuzo Ishikawa and Sarah Marie Bruno)

  • 6/9/2022 Logan Jones STScI Metals in Galaxies
  • 6/14/2022 Andrey Vayner JHU Introduction to Integral Field Spectroscopy
  • 6/16/2022 Leonardo dos Santos STScI Exoplanets and their atmospheres: from extreme worlds to Earth 2.0
  • 6/21/2022 Alec Hirschauer STScI Early-Universe Dust Production with JWST GTO Programs
  • 6/23/2022 Carrie Filion JHU Galactic Archaeology in the Milky Way and Beyond
  • 6/28/2022 Kathleen Hamilton-Campos JHU Galaxies and Grad School: How SASP Impacted my Academic Career
  • 6/30/2022 Frank Summers STScI The Science and Art of Astronomy Visualizations
  • 7/5/2022 Anna Wright STScI Simulating the low surface brightness universe
  • 7/7/2022 Harry Ferguson STScI Galaxy evolution: Key questions for upcoming deep and wide surveys
  • 7/14/2022 Jamila Pegues, Serge Dieterich, Kathleen Hamilton-Campos, Yuanze Luo STScI + JHU Career Panel
  • 7/19/2022 Alexandra Lockwood STScI JWST ERO
  • 7/21/2022 Yukei Murakami JHU A paradigm shift in cosmology? The first-person view of the H0 tension
  • 7/26/2022 Greg Sloan STScI Dust
  • 7/28/2022 Jamila Pegues STScI Chemistry in the Precursors of Planetary Systems
  • 8/2/2022 Darshan Kakkad STScI Feedback from black holes using IFS observations