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Northwestern University

September 2017



Graduate Student Eve Chase Wins Best Poster Award at LSC-Virgo Meeting

At the LSC-Virgo September Meeting near Geneva, Switzerland, graduate student Eve Chase won the best poster award in the Data Analysis/Theory category.

The meeting took place August 28 - September 1, 2017 at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) is a collaboration of international physics institutes and research groups dedicated to the search for gravitational waves. Virgo is an interferometer gravitational wave detector in Pisa, Italy.

Eve is a second-year astronomy graduate student who is part of Vicky Kalogera’s group. Eve studies computational and data analysis techniques related to gravitational wave astronomy. Her poster, titled "Gravitational-Wave Localization in the LSST Era,” focused on using the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope to search for electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves. Eve took home 150 Swiss Francs as her prize.

Co-authors on Eve’s project include Sam Imperato and Monica Rizzo (along with Chris Pankow, Scott Coughlin and Vicky Kalogera, all from Northwestern). Sam is a high school student who contributed heavily to tracking improvements to GW source localization as additional detectors are commissioned. Monica Rizzo is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) student from the Rochester Institute of Technology. She spent her summer modeling expected light curves from gravitational-wave counterparts, such as kilonovae.

Congratulations, Eve!


“Three Cosmic Chirps and Counting” by CIERA Director Vicky Kalogera

The September 2017 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine features an article by Vicky Kalogera which gives her personal and professional account of the first gravitational wave events detected by LIGO. In the article, Prof.Kalogera describes the science behind the detections, their significance and promise, as well as the excitement in the astronomy community as these phenomenal occurrences unfolded.

Access the September 2017 issue.


CIERA Welcomes New Faculty Members: Wen-Fai Fong & Sasha Tchekhovskoy

Northwestern University is in the midst of an astrophysics faculty expansion plan. With last year’s arrival of Raffaella Margutti, an expert in 'transient phenomena' such as supernovae and gamma ray bursts, Northwestern became one of the very few universities in the nation with both a LIGO research group and a transient astronomy team.

This fall, we are excited to announce two new astrophysics faculty additions at CIERA: Wen-fai Fong and Sasha Tchekhovskoy. Wen-fai's research focuses on mergers of compact objects and their environments; she chases the elusive electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational-wave sources. She will be a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow for her first year at Northwestern, before moving into her faculty role.

A former NASA Einstein Fellow, Sasha will start as an assistant professor this fall. His interests include high-energy astrophysics processes powered by compact objects, black holes, and neutron stars which he simulates using high-performance computing.

Welcome, Wen-fai and Sasha!


Announcing CIERA Director of Operations Kari Frank & Associate Director Shane Larson

We are pleased to announce our new Director of Operations, Dr. Kari Frank. Kari holds a PhD in Physics from Purdue, and is formerly a Research Associate at Penn State. Kari’s focus is X-ray observations of galaxy clusters and supernova remnants. In addition to her research, Kari has devoted time at both Purdue and Penn State to help improve the careers of graduate students and postdocs.

Welcome, Kari!

With Kari’s arrival, we wish farewell to John Everett, who served extremely capably for the past 5 years as Assistant Director and then Director of Operations for CIERA. John has taken an exciting professional opportunity in the Denver Public Schools and has moved west to pursue this, as well as to be closer to his family. We thank John and wish him all the best!

As of September 1st, Prof. Shane Larson will take on the new role of Associate Director of CIERA as half-time of his full-time position at Northwestern (transitioning from a joint position between Northwestern and the Adler Planetarium). As Associate Director (part-time), Shane will take on CIERA's growing responsibilities in the areas of public outreach, science communication, and development efforts, engaging with Northwestern Alumni and CIERA Friends.

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