spring

Ali Bramson Wins College of Science Outstanding Teaching Award

LPL’s Ali Bramson won the award for Outstanding Teaching at the 7th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards. Ali was recognized for her work in developing a year-long seminar course called “Entering Research (LASC 397A).” The course, which Ali taught this year, introduces undergraduates to all facets of the research endeavor.

Graduate Student News

Ali Bramson Wins College of Science Outstanding Teaching Award

LPL’s Ali Bramson won the award for Outstanding Teaching at the 7th Annual College of Science Graduate Student Awards. Ali was recognized for her work in developing a year-long seminar course called “Entering Research (LASC 397A).” The course, which Ali taught this year, introduces undergraduates to all facets of the research endeavor.

In addition to the award for teaching that Ali won, the College of Science gives out awards to graduate students for Outstanding Scholarship and Outstanding Service and Outreach. Juan Lora and Melissa Dykhuis were LPL’s nominees for the latter two awards.

The award was announced at a reception held on April 16, sponsored by the College of Science and the Associate Graduate Council for the College of Science (AGCCS). Ali’s award marks the third consecutive year that an LPL graduate student has won one of the three awards. Given that our graduate students are competing against excellent students from 11 other departments, having a winner three years in a row speaks to the excellence of the graduate students we have.

Congratulations, Ali!

Recognition for PTYS Undergraduate Minor

Congratulations to PTYS undergraduate minor Cassandra Lejoly. For Spring 2014, Cassandra was named Outstanding Senior for the Department of Astronomy. Cassandra presented her research at the Astronomy Department's Graduating Astronomy Major Research Symposium on April 24. Her abstract is provided below. In the fall, Cassandra will be attending Northern Arizona University as a graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Graduate Student News

Recognition for PTYS Undergraduate Minor

Congratulations to PTYS undergraduate minor Cassandra Lejoly. For Spring 2014, Cassandra was named Outstanding Senior for the Department of Astronomy. Cassandra presented her research at the Astronomy Department's Graduating Astronomy Major Research Symposium on April 24. Her abstract is provided below. In the fall, Cassandra will be attending Northern Arizona University as a graduate student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.


Cassandra Lejoly. I will present the periods of repeatability of individual coma features in Comet 1P/Halley measured using the position angle at different spatial distances from the nucleus in consequent cycles. I found that separate features appear to have different periods of repeatability within the same images, perhaps depending on the corresponding source regions on the nucleus. The periods of repeatability of coma morphologies will be presented as a function of time from the perihelion. I will also discuss the current work being done on the outflow velocities of the dust as well as the comprehensive modeling of the comet’s features.

 

Tucson Festival of Books 2014

The UA Campus played host again this spring to the annual Tucson Festival of Books. This year's event, the sixth annual festival, was held March 15-16, 2014. The Tucson Festival of Books is free and open to the public. It has become one of the most anticipated and well attended book fairs in the U.S., attracting approximately 100,000 attendees, 450 authors, and 300 exhibitors.

Department News

Tucson Festival of Books 2014

The UA Campus played host again this spring to the annual Tucson Festival of Books. This year's event, the sixth annual festival, was held March 15-16, 2014. The Tucson Festival of Books is free and open to the public. It has become one of the most anticipated and well attended book fairs in the U.S., attracting approximately 100,000 attendees, 450 authors, and 300 exhibitors.

LPL faculty, staff, and graduate students participated in the festival as part of the UA ScienceCity Science of Tomorrow Tent, which was this year located on the UA mall directly in front of the Meinel Optical Sciences building. LPL was well represented by students, faculty, and staff. Highlights of the LPL events included:

  • OSIRIS-REx staff and ambassadors describing the mission and signing visitors up to send their names to Bennu;
  • LPL graduate students educating the crowd about exoplanets;
  • Dr. Steve Kortenkamp and preceptors from Teaching Teams creating comets, exhibiting meteorites, and discussing the properties of light;
  • LPL Research Specialist Senior Dolores Hill talking meteorites.

In addition to these hands-on activities, Associate Professor Travis Barman spoke on "Capturing Images of Planets that Orbit Distant Stars" as part of Science Café.

As if all this science weren't exciting enough, the Kuiper Space Sciences building was invaded by Martians! That's right...two Martians stepped off the pages of writer Ray Bradbury's science fiction and into the Kuiper Building. Martian tourists Mr. K. and his wife Ylla acted as the MCs of the book launch for Orbiting Ray Bradbury's Mars (edited by Gloria McMillan), which was held in Kuiper 308 on Saturday, March 15. The Martians were ably played by local college student actors Rainey Hinrichs and John Noble. Mr. K and LPL Professor Emeritus Peter Smith got into a bit of a row when Mr. K. asked Smith if he had filed for a Martian parking permit before landing his Phoenix Mars Lander in their Mayor Ingo Nup's "back forty" acres on Mars. The audience laughed as Smith sighed, "Has it come to this?"

Orbiting Ray Bradbury's Mars is a unique volume that has space scientists and literary and film scholars writing about Bradbury's fiction, especially Bradbury's The Martian ChroniclesDr. Peter Smith contributed a Foreword in which he explains how Bradbury's fiction helped him to envision a career in astronomy. Kuiper Circle Chair and retired aerospace engineer David Acklam traced his memories of Bradbury's fictional Mars and made engaging connections with the real world of space missions.  NASA scientists from Smith's Phoenix Mars Lander Mission also wrote about the fictional vs real Mars. LPL alumnus Dr. William K. Hartmann played a role in creating the book and its artwork.

Whether outside on the UA Mall or inside the Kuiper auditorium, visitors to the 2014 Festival of Books were treated to an educational weekend of art and science!

LPL graduate student Tiffany Kataria demonstrates spectra of various light sources.

Dolores Hill brought her meteorites.

LPL graduate students Patrick Harner and Rob Zellem taking a break from the action.

Kelli Kostizak (Teaching Teams) is ready to discuss the properties of light.

Martian tourists surprised to find a globe of the home planet.

Dr. Steve Kortenkamp (Teaching Teams) came prepared with a sample comet.

G. Bliss and Brenda Huettner collect messages to Bennu.

Associate Professor Travis Barman lectured at Science Café

OSIRIS-REx Ambassador Al Anzaldua describes a model of Bennu.

Book editor Gloria McMillan with visitors.

Put him in, coach!

What could make Opening Day at an Arizona Diamondbacks game even better? That would be catching a foul ball and making it look easy! Nice job, Professor Swindle!

But wait...lightning strikes twice! There is no video confirmation, but reports indicate that Tim Swindle caught a second line-drive foul ball at the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sunday, April 13. Good to know that our Head and Director might have an alternate career path in case of a bad funding year.

Department News

Put him in, coach!

What could make Opening Day at an Arizona Diamondbacks game even better? That would be catching a foul ball and making it look easy! Nice job, Professor Swindle!

But wait...lightning strikes twice! There is no video confirmation, but reports indicate that Tim Swindle caught a second line-drive foul ball at the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Sunday, April 13. Good to know that our Head and Director might have an alternate career path in case of a bad funding year.

5000 NEO Discoveries for Catalina Sky Survey

The Catalina Sky Survey Team (CSS) reached an important milestone, and also discovered two highly unusual asteroids in the last few months. The milestone was that CSS discovered its 5000th Near-Earth Object (NEO). On March 31, CSS Astronomer Jess Johnson discovered NEO 2014 FS52 using the 60" reflector on Mt. Lemmon. According to CSS PI Eric Christensen, "This is a fairly ordinary NEO, but an extraordinary statistic!

Department News

5000 NEO Discoveries for Catalina Sky Survey

The Catalina Sky Survey Team (CSS) reached an important milestone, and also discovered two highly unusual asteroids in the last few months. The milestone was that CSS discovered its 5000th Near-Earth Object (NEO). On March 31, CSS Astronomer Jess Johnson discovered NEO 2014 FS52 using the 60" reflector on Mt. Lemmon. According to CSS PI Eric Christensen, "This is a fairly ordinary NEO, but an extraordinary statistic! Given that the overall NEO tally stands at 10,758, that means that CSS is responsible for 47% of all NEO discoveries, period." Coupled with the 813 discoveries by the Spacewatch program, that means that LPL astronomers have discovered more than half of all known NEOs.

While 2014 FS52 may have been “fairly ordinary,” two other CSS discoveries were anything but that.

In March, Senior Staff Scientist Steve Larson forwarded news that Catalina Sky Survey observer Rik Hill (Research Specialist, Senior) discovered the "crumbling" asteroid P/2013 R3. Hubble Space Telescope provided the likely first known observation of an asteroid breaking up through spin-up by the YORP effect: http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1405/

And on New Year’s Eve, observer Rich Kowalski discovered an asteroid that impacted Earth the next day. 2014 AA represented only the second time in human history that an object first observed with a telescope hit the Earth. The other, 2008 TC3, was also discovered by Rich, also at CSS. Incidentally, 2014 AA broke up harmlessly over the Atlantic: http://azstarnet.com/news/local/tucson-astronomer-spots-asteroid-before-it-hits-earth/article_82e97cd0-9b2f-5747-95ef-bb5cbb835c6b.html

2014 AP and Classified Staff Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Ken Domanik, recipient of this year's LPL Appointed Personnel Staff Excellence Award, and to Bertha Orosco, recipient of the 2014 Classified Staff Excellence Award!

Department News

2014 AP and Classified Staff Excellence Awards

Congratulations to Ken Domanik, recipient of this year's LPL Appointed Personnel Staff Excellence Award, and to Bertha Orosco, recipient of the 2014 Classified Staff Excellence Award!

Ken is Manager of the Electron Microprobe Lab; he has been with LPL since 1999, and previously won the AP Excellence award in 2002. Ken earned the award again this year because, as noted in the nomination, he “will do what it takes to make sure that the instruments are providing quality data” — the concept of “close-of-business” does not apply; Ken is often working late and early, including weekends. He has implemented cost-saving and fund-generating measures and troubleshoots and corrects instrument problems, saving service calls and downtime. Thanks to Ken's work and care, even the older 25-year-old instrument continues to provide investigators from around campus with high-quality data.

Bert is Administrative Associate for the LPL Academic Office, having been promoted this year from Administrative Assistant. Bert does it all and does it with a smile, going above and beyond (and rarely stopping to take a lunch break). She continues to build upon her own skills to improve processes and procedures that save the department time and money, keep us organized and on track, and get us reimbursed and fed. Some examples of this year's accomplishments:

  • doubled-up on duties to provide admin support for Tim in the absenceof his executive assistant;
  • learned to use and apply Drupal and FileMakerPro in order to maintain the web site;
  • trained on use of Panopto video capture and documented process;
  • became HOV certified to provide more service and flexibility for department;
  • volunteered to serve as Secretary for College of Science Staff Advisory Committee (CoSSAC);
  • supported a variety of special events that required research into policy and precedent, including logistics for the APR and for the upcoming Hawaii fieldtrip.

Great job, Bert and Ken!

 

Christa Van Laerhoven Graduates

Christa L. Van Laerhoven successfully defended her dissertation titled "Multi-Planet Extra-Solar Systems: Tides and Classical Secular Theory" on April 16. Christa began her career as a graduate student in 2008, with two years of support from a Canadian NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Fellowship.

Department News

Christa Van Laerhoven Graduates

Christa L. Van Laerhoven successfully defended her dissertation titled "Multi-Planet Extra-Solar Systems: Tides and Classical Secular Theory" on April 16. Christa began her career as a graduate student in 2008, with two years of support from a Canadian NSERC (National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Fellowship. She was the recipient of a NESSF (NASA Earth and Space Sciences Fellowship) for 2012/2013 and 2013/2014. During her time as a graduate student, Christa also earned the PTYS Graduate Teaching Excellence Award (Fall 2011), and received a University of Arizona College of Science Galileo Scholarship in 2012. Professor Richard Greenberg was Christa's dissertation advisor. Christa will begin a position as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto in the summer of 2014.  Congratulations, Christa!

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