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Date March 2017
NSF REU: Louisiana State University
Summer of 2014 I worked with Dr. Jarrell and Dr. Moreno studying Condensed Matter Theory. I wrote software that simulates disordered solid state systems (like an imperfect metal) and used it to investigate the Anderson Transition (from metal to insulator), and benchmark Dr. Jarrell’s TMTDCA mean field theory. Here is a poster describing some of my work I presented at the SURF session following the program:
NASA Space Grant Internship
I worked at with Dr. Eiichi Egami on a project investigating the ‘Physical Properties of Spectroscopically Confirmed Z>6 Galaxies’. The main idea of my research was that some galaxies in the early universe (around the era of reionization) should have young stellar populations. We added the effects of these young stars to a code that matches broad band photometry measurements (taken from Spitzer, Hubble, and othere telescopes), and fits it with synthetic galaxy spectra, in order to see how it changed the derived physical parameters (mass, size, chemical composition, etc…). For more detail check out the powerpoint presentation I gave at the 2014 NASA Space Grant Statewide Symposium, by clicking the button below.
Investigating the Aharonov-Bohm Effect on Thermal Conductance
Magnetic vector potentials can cause quantum mechanical effects even when the magnetic field itself is zero. I investigated how this effect can substantially alter the quantum transport, most notably the thermal conductance, in a 1 or 2d ring system threaded with a magnetic flux. I developed a working simulation, confirmed its accuracy by comparing its behavior to what we expect from theory, then used the simulation to see how significantly one can increase the thermal conductance by altering the flux through a system. This topic is particularly interesting since it is feasible that one could use magnetic fluxes to act as “switches” on a system, that allow or prevent the flow of electricity and current though particular regions, without having to produce physical switches on the system itself. The results of this research project were presented at the University of Arizona Department of Astronomy Research Symposium.
Observing the Transit of a Binary Star System
In 2013 I observed the transit of the system SDSS J08205+0008, which is believed to consist of a Subdawf-B star and a brown dwarf companion. I used (and operated) the Kuiper 61″ telescope to observe the transit on the night of March 16, 2013, processed the images, reduced the data, and produced a light curve demonstrating the transit (shown below). The data was combined with previously published results on the data to compute the period of revolution for the system, the semi-major axis of the orbit, the mass of the brown dwarf companion star, and the radius of the brown dwarf star. The error was computed using Monte-Carlo simulations, and used with the results to place constraints on the physical parameters listed above.
Extragalactic Astronomy with Multiple/Multiwavelength Interests Group
My first research position, beginning the summer after my first year in college, was working with Dr. Egami at his gravitational lensing group. The Herschel Lensing Survey (HLS) used the Herschel Space Telescope (HST) to observe massive galaxy clusters in infrared/submillimeter wavelengths, with the goal of discovering very bright gravitationally lensed (magnified and or distorted by the curvature of space) galaxies to perform higher quality follow-up observations on. I developed a piece of software that automatically combines the HLS observations obtained by Egami’s team with the available observations of the same location on the sky from previous sky surveys (automatically identifying if they are available and downloading them), processes and labels the images into a finding chart showing the image over different wavelength ranges, allowing the source to be easily identified as interesting for follow up observations.
Localized Properties of Disordered Solids
Following the interest in solid-state physics and quantum transport I developed at LSU I developed a simulation of 1-d and 2-d disordered solids which calculates quantum transport properties such as the transmission probability, electrical conductance, thermopower, and thermal conductance. I benchmarked the code, and after it was able to reproduce known properties of localized solids a few physics professors took interest in it, and I am currently continuing its development to study unknown quantum transport properties.
Including Nebular Emission Lines in Model Galaxy Spectra
Understanding high-redshift (Z>5) galaxies is key to understanding the early universe, as well as galaxy formation and evolution. Typically the physical properties of a galaxy are determined by observing its spectra, but high redshift galaxies are typically too faint to perform spectroscopy on. These galaxies are studied by taking multiple measurements in broad band filters, then fitting the observed flux values with synthetic galaxy spectra, which have predetermined physical properties. In the past this is typically done without including nebular emission lines, which are present in star formation regions. For this project Dr. Eiichi Egami and I found that including these lines dramatically changes the derived physical values. These results led to my NASA Space Grant Proposal, which was accepted.
A Best-Fit Synthetic Spectral Energy Distribution, and its Associated Physical Parameters without the Inclusion of Nebular Emission Lines. Notice the low star formation rate.
A Best-Fit sSED with Nebular Emission Lines. Notice the high star formation rate.
At the age of 18 I decided to conquer my biggest fear, performing a backflip, which I had been struggling with for years. I joined the University of Arizona official club sport while I was still in high school, conquered my fear, and learned much more about the sport of ‘tricking’ a fusion of martial arts and gymnastics. Later I became president of the club, whose goal was to provide a cheap and safe place for college students to train at open gyms by utilizing group discounts. The group was accessible to all skill levels, with one member earning second place in the world championships of tricking, while others just wanted to jump on the trampoline to blow off some steam. I am currently taking a break from the sport after repeated foot and ankle injuries prevented me from training.