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Archive for the ‘Awards & Prizes’ Category

U Re-Enlists With Astronomy Project University: Joins Sky Survey’s Fourth Phase With W.L. Eccles Grant


University of Utah astronomers will participate in a six-year project to study the formation of our Milky Way galaxy; map stars, gas and supermassive black holes in 10,000 neighbor galaxies; and chart 1 million galaxies and quasars to learn about mysterious “dark energy” that makes the universe expand.

Five years after joining the third phase of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, or SDSS-III, Utah’s largest research university is signing up for the fourth phase of the international effort to map the heavens – thanks to a $350,000 “challenge grant” from the Willard L. Eccles Charitable Foundation and a matching $350,000 from the university.

Full Story: http://unews.utah.edu/news_releases/u-re-enlists-with-astronomy-project/

Space station To Host New Cosmic Ray Telescope


The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has awarded $4.4 million to a collaboration of scientists at five United States universities and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to help build a telescope for deployment on the International Space Station in 2017.

The U.S. collaboration is part of a 13-nation effort to build the 2.5-meter ultraviolet telescope, called the Extreme Universe Space Observatory. UChicago Prof. Angela Olinto leads the U.S. collaboration. The telescope will search for the mysterious source of the most energetic particles in the universe, called ultra high-energy cosmic rays, from the ISS’s Japanese Experiment Module. The source of these cosmic rays has remained one of the great mysteries of science since physicist John Linsley discovered them more than 50 years ago. These cosmic rays consist of protons and other subatomic scraps of matter that fly through the universe at almost light speed.

The science goal is to discover the sources of ultra high-energy cosmic rays by observing their traces in the atmosphere looking 248 miles from the ISS down to the surface,” said Olinto, professor in astronomy & astrophysics at the University of Chicago’s Kavli Institute for Cosmological Physics.

Full Story: http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2013/03/11/space-station-host-new-cosmic-ray-telescope

Once In A Lifetime Experience For theSkyNet Citizen Scientist

November 14, 2012 Leave a comment

Last week the top contributor to citizen science initiative theSkyNet travelled to the heart of the West Australian outback to visit the future site of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope. Mr Kim Hawtin, top contributor to the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) project, was awarded this rare opportunity as part of theSkyNet’s first anniversary celebrations in September.

“The key to theSkyNet is having lots of computers connected, with each contributing only a little, but the sum of those computers achieving a lot,” he said. Mr Wheeler said that Mr Hawtin’s contribution has been an important part of theSkyNet’s overall processing capacity.

Full Story: http://www.icrar.org/news/news_items/media-releases/once-in-a-lifetime-experience-for-theskynet-citizen-scientist

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Selects UT Austin As Research And Education Partner

October 17, 2012 Leave a comment

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory has selected The University of Texas at Austin for its Strategic University Research Partnership program — a federally funded program focused on advancing space exploration.

The partnership will enable the university and JPL researchers to propose collaborative research and educational projects in strategic focus areas such as robotics, nanosatellites and high-precision mapping. The program also creates an employment pipeline for JPL’s future workforce.

The University of Texas at Austin is one of 12 universities that have been selected for this partnership.

Full Story: http://www.engr.utexas.edu/news/7417-nasapartnership

Winner Of 2012 AIP Science Communication Awards For Science Writing

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

The American Institute of Physics (AIP) has selected author Richard Panek as winner of this year’s AIP Science Communication Award in the Science Writing category for his book The 4% Universe: Dark Matter, Dark Energy, and the Race to Discover the Rest of Reality.

The selection committee praised the book for its excellent writing and accurate depictions of the process of scientific investigation.

“The mysteries of cosmology easily capture the imagination,” said Catherine O’Riordan, AIP vice president for Physics Resources. “This particular book presents the underlying physics of dark matter and dark energy in a way that draws the reader in and tells an engaging story of researchers at the frontiers of discovery.”

Full Story: http://www.aip.org/press_release/winners_science_panek.html

Sweeping X-ray Imaging Survey Of Dying Stars Is ‘Uncharted Territory’

October 12, 2012 Leave a comment

The death throes of dying stars are the focus of a sweeping new survey using NASA’s Chandra X-ray satellite observatory.

More than two dozen astronomers have aligned their research goals to use Chandra to image a set of dying stars in the neighborhood of the Sun. The resulting X-ray images of these dying stars—called planetary nebulae—are shedding light on the violent “end game” of a Sun-like star’s life.

Both the previous and upcoming series of observations are part of the Chandra X-ray Survey of Planetary Nebulae (ChanPlaNS). Leaders in planetary nebula astronomy from seven countries joined forces to win the large Chandra observing time awards.

“An X-ray survey of this kind is completely uncharted territory in the planetary nebula world,” Kastner adds. “Astronomers working in this area agreed that we need large quantities of time to look at as many planetary nebulae as possible, specifically with Chandra.”

Full Story: http://www.rit.edu/news/release.php?id=49444

Grants Help Scientists Explore Boundary Between Science & Science Fiction

October 8, 2012 1 comment

Two University of California, Berkeley, scientists have received research grants to explore areas of science that bleed into science fiction.

Astronomer Geoff Marcy, who kicked off the search for extrasolar planets 20 years ago, plans to rummage through data from the Kepler space telescope in search of evidence for civilizations advanced enough to have built massive orbiting “solar” power stations.

Theoretical physicist Raphael Bousso will look for ways of detecting universes other than our own, and try to understand what these alternate universes, or multiverses, will look like.

Marcy and Bousso are among 20 innovative researchers who will share more than $4 million in New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology International Grants that were announced Thursday, Oct. 4, by the University of Chicago.

Full Story: http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/10/05/grants-help-scientists-explore-border-between-science-science-fiction/