Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi elected to the Bouchet Graduate Honor Scholar

Cool Star Lab graduate student Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi has been elected to the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society. Daniella was one of three Physics graduate students inducted this year, and was selected based on her excellence of research and commitment to mentor and support underrepresented groups in Physics and Astronomy.

The Bouchet Society is named after the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States (in Physics from Yale University in 1876), and recognizes outstanding scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education and the professoriate. The Bouchet Society aims to develop a network of preeminent scholars who exemplify academic and personal excellence, foster environments of support and serve as examples of scholarship, leadership, character, service and advocacy for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in the academy.  The Society was inaugurated at Yale University and Howard University in 2005 in commemoration of Bouchet’s birthday. UC San Diego is one of 13 national chapters, and inaugurated its first inductees in 2009.

Daniella will be formally inducted at the annual Bouchet Scholar Conference at Yale University April 7-8, 2017.

You can read more about Edward Bouchet at http://www.math.buffalo.edu/mad/physics/bouchet_edward_alexander.html

Congratulations Daniella!

Yuhui Jin Earns Physical Science Dean’s Award for Excellence

15389947749_09843400e8_z

Yuhui Jin, and undergraduate Physics major who worked on the early stages of the SpeX Prism Library Analysis Toolkit, has earned the Physical Sciences Dean’s Award for Excellence for 2017. Yuhui earned this honor for both her outstanding academic performance (she is completing dual degrees in Engineering Physics and Mathematics, including several graduate courses) and her contributions to research in several labs. Congratulations Yuhui!

Cool Star Lab Alumna Jackie Faherty Talks Supermoon on NPR

661258e3d122d0b2357153bf3681db66

Cool Star Lab alumna Dr. Jackie Faherty, now a Senior Scientist at the American Museum of Natural History, spoke to NPR today about tonight’s “Supermoon” phenomenon.

The Moon’s orbit is an ellipse with an average eccentricity of 0.05, and therefore varies between 363,000 km (perigee) and 405,000 km (apogee) from Earth.  When the Moon is close to perigee at Full Moon (a “perigee syzygy”), it can appear 10% wider and thus 22% brighter than a Full Moon near apogee.

Image of the full moon from NASA

However, the gravitational tugs of the Sun, Jupiter and Venus actually perturb the orbit of the Moon enough to drive the eccentricity to a range of values, typically between 0.026 and 0.077.  So tonight’s Moon is just a little bit closer (357,000 km), and is estimated to be about 30% brighter than an apogee Full Moon. This makes it the brightest supermoon since 1948, and the next closer one won’t be until 2034.

You can hear more details about the Supermoon from Jackie’s NPR segment at http://n.pr/2eV1omg.

 

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi Wins Graduate Student Presenter Award at SACNAS

IMG_0062

Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi gave a preview of her thesis talk at the 2016 SACNAS National Diversity Conference in Long Beach, and in the process earned a coveted student speaker award.  From the announcement:

“We are writing to share with you the superb research presentation Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi recently delivered at 2016 SACNAS: The National Diversity in STEM Conference in Long Beach, CA. At the conference, our judges recognized Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi’swork, titled “Towards the True Binary Fraction of Very Low Mass Stars and Brown Dwarfs,” as a standout among the student presentations, and selected Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi to receive one of the 2016 SACNAS Student Presentation Awards.

It is our honor to share that Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi’s communication skills and command of the research topic were exemplary. This letter recognizes the hard work, dedication, and sacrifice necessary for a student to standout from their fellow presenters. We feel that your program is enhanced by the participation of Daniella Bardalez Gagliuffi, as such commitment will drive fellow researchers to similar heights.”

Daniella was selected among over 1000 posters and oral presentations for this award.  Congratulations Daniella!

UCSD Hosts 2016 SoCal Physics Graduate Admissions Bootcamp

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 1.34.12 AM

UCSD hosted the 2016 SoCal Physics Graduate Admissions Bootcamp this year at on August 13-14, 2016. The two-day intensive workshop, developed by members of the California Professoriate for Access to Physics Careers (CPAPC) and organized this year by Adam Burgasser and members of the Cool Star Lab,  is designed to help students, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups, plan for application to Physics graduate programs. This includes strategies for choosing programs, how to produce the best application, and how to succeed in the Physics GRE Subject Exam. Bootcamps are held in Southern and Northern California each year.

[Read more…]

Cool Stars Lab shines in 2016 Summer Research Conference

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.57.35 PM

The Cool Star Lab had a strong showing at this year’s 2016 UCSD Summer Research Conference, held August 11th around campus.  Ten students from the Lab presented results during the full day event, including six in Session #1 alone!

[Read more…]

Christian Aganze Selected as an inaugural LSST Data Science Fellow

15576549005_fa0698faac_z

UCSD-Morehouse-Spelman alum and incoming graduate student Christian Aganze has been selected as one of the inaugural LSST Data Science Fellows. This program aims to teach graduate students the skills required for LSST (Large Synoptic Survey Telescope) science that are not easily addressed by current astrophysics graduate programs. The program consists of a two-year training program, with three one-week schools per year. The program is based at Northwestern University‘s Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics (CIERA) and directed by Dr. Lucianne Walkowicz of the Adler Planetarium.

[Read more…]

Cool Star Lab Presents Work at 2016 Physics Education Research Conference

Mike Lopez, Isabela Rodrigues and Adam Burgasser presented their early analysis of an experimental Physics course at the 2016 Physics Education Research Conference in Sacramento, CA. This was the first PERC for all three researchers. In addition, former Cool Star Lab member Dianna Cowern was on hand for the overlapping American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) meeting presenting her work on the Physics Girl video series.

Screen Shot 2016-08-22 at 8.21.16 AM

Past and present Cool Star Lab members at the 2016 PERC; from left to right: Isabela Rodrigues, Dianna Cowern, Adam Burgasser and Mike Lopez.

The primary research presentations focused on analysis of an experiment conducted in Fall 2015 to implement Cooperative Problem Solving (CPS) in the large Physics 1A Introductory Mechanics course. The current course format, which is lecture-based, does not specifically build up students’ problem solving skills, skills that students often struggle with and which may benefit them more in their other majors and in their future careers. Inspired by work being done by Thomas Gredig at CSU Long Beach, I implemented a form of CPS as described in Heller & Heller (2010) as a flipped-format course, with online video lectures providing the primary instruction and class time primarily devoted to problem-solving skills and techniques.  To validate the model, Adam taught 9 sections of the CPS course with 1 (large) section of interactive lecture. The work presented at the PERC was a preliminary analysis of student outcomes.

[Read more…]

UCSD Selected as an SDSS FAST Site

The Cool Star Lab has joined the SDSS Faculty and Student Team (FAST) initiative, with a research program focused on analyzing high resolution spectroscopy of ultracool dwarfs with SDSS-APOGEE.

[Read more…]

Work by Cool Star Lab Alumna Aishwarya Iyer Featured in NASA Press Release

Screen Shot 2016-08-21 at 11.34.57 PM

Cool Star Lab alumna Aishwarya Iyer, currently a Master’s student at CSU Northridge and intern at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has recently published work on exoplanet atmospheres that has been featured in a NASA Press Release. Her paper, “A Characteristic Transmission Spectrum Dominated by H2O Applies to the Majority of HST/WFC3 Exoplanet Observations“, published in the Astrophysical Journal, concludes that most hot Jupiter atmospheres likely contain water vapor, even those that show weak water features. This is due to the role of hazes and clouds, which can obscure molecular gas features. Aisha and her team performed a comprehensive analysis of 19 Hot Jupiter transmission spectra taken by HST/WFC3, and modeling analysis indicates that the bulk of water vapor lies below the cloud layers. This work is a major advance in understanding the role of clouds and haze in exoplanetary atmospheres, which are also important constituents in brown dwarf atmospheres.

The paper can be accessed at http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2016ApJ…823..109I and the press release can be found at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=6527