NGC 6164  



Onward and upward!
2013 August 25 — I am delighted to congratulate my first Ph.D. student, Jamie Lomax, who successfully defended her dissertation earlier this month. Entitled "The X-Ray and Spectropolarimetric View of Massive Stars," it consists of the work she has done at DU, GSFC, and U. Liège on the massive binary stars β Lyr, V444 Cyg, and WR 140. Dr. Lomax has now moved on to the University of Oklahoma, where she will work as a postdoctoral researcher with John Wisniewski.
Joining Jamie in Norman will be another alum of my group, Michael Malatesta, who graduated with his BS degree in November 2012 and has continued to work with me on projects related to his thesis work, "Spectropolarimetry of V356 Sagittarii: Constraining the Distribution of the Circumstellar Material." Mike will begin the Ph.D. program in astronomy at the University of Oklahoma this fall. We wish both Jamie and Mike the best in their new endeavors and look forward to continued collaborations!
Massive stars in Greece and Tennessee
2013 June 27 — As summer begins for real, my group is working hard to publicize recent work and build momentum on projects new and old. Ph.D. candidate Jamie Lomax represented us at the recent "Massive Stars: From α to Ω in Rhodes, Greece in mid-June. She presented a poster entitled "Constraining the Wind Collision Region Geometry in the WN+O Binary V444 Cyg," reporting the results from a paper in preparation that will form the third chapter of her dissertation. This project was funded by NASA and undertaken with the invaluable collaboration of Yaël Nazé, Karen Bjorkman, Mike Corcoran, Michael de Becker, Yoshitomo Maeda, Stan Owocki, Julian Pittard, Andy Pollock, and Chris Russell. Jamie was awarded a AAS ITG grant to attend this important topical conference.
Graduate student Manisha Shrestha and I were also co-authors on a Rhodes poster by Hilding Neilson (ETSU) entitled "Modelling Near-IR Polarization to Constrain Stellar Wind Bow Shocks". These are the first results from a new project, funded by my existing collaborative NSF grant with Rico Ignace, investigating the polarization signatures that may arise from bow-shock-shaped circumstellar geometries in massive stars and supernovae. Manisha and I visited Rico and Hilding at East Tennessee State University in late June to pursue this project.
Career milestone!
2013 June 14 — I received exciting news this week: I have been awarded tenure at the University of Denver! The new title will kick in September 1, but I'm updating it on this page now. Heartfelt thanks to my collaborators and colleagues, family and friends for their unwavering support over the past six years!
Lisa Randall to speak at DU
2013 March 27 — Harvard professor and renowned particle physicist Lisa Randall will speak at DU during the April APS meeting, 7 PM on April 15. Dr. Randall will present her lecture, entitled "Truth and Beauty, and Other Scientific Misconceptions," after accepting the Andrew Gemant Award from the American Institute of Physics. She will also sign copies of her books after the lecture.
The DU Department of Physics & Astronomy is sponsoring Dr. Randall's lecture, which will be free and open to the public. Our local chapter of the Society of Physics Students will present live physics demonstrations before and after the talk. Please join us for an evening of fascinating science! For more details, see our information page or contact me directly.
All eyes on Mintaka
2013 January 31 — My group has been invited to participate in a multiwavelength observing campaign focused on the massive binary star δ Ori (Mintaka, one of the stars in Orion's belt). We will contribute spectropolarimetric observations obtained with HPOL that will support recent X-ray spectra from Chandra and precision optical photometry from MOST. The aim is to better describe the characteristics of the clumpy mass loss occurring in this complex, eclipsing variable system. We obtained one observation shortly before the Chandra data were taken, and will continue to monitor the system to characterize its polarized light curve.
Lomax pursues international collaboration
2013 January 16 — Graduate student Jamie Lomax will travel to Belgium in February to work with our collaborators in the High-Energy Astrophysics Group at the University of Liège. They will focus on analyzing our recently obtained XMM-Newton data on the colliding-wind binary star V444 Cyg; Jamie will also give a talk on her spectropolarimetry work. We are grateful for NASA-ADAP funding that supports this collaboration.