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Raffaella Margutti Joins CIERA to Investigate the Biggest Explosions in Our Universe

As part of a 5-year faculty expansion initiative in the Physics & Astronomy Department, Dr. Raffaella Margutti, an expert on supernovae, has joined Northwestern as an assistant professor. Dr. Margutti was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Theory and Computation.

At CIERA, Dr. Margutti’s group will work with broad-band observations (from X-rays to radio) and modelling of astronomical transients. On Dr. Margutti’s web site, she describes supernovae and gamma-ray bursts as the biggest explosions in our Universe. She states that both phenomena signal the catastrophic death of stars, leading to the birth of exotic compact objects like neutron stars and black holes. Investigating the high-energy properties of these explosions, she is working to understand the physical processes that cause such a dramatic energy release in a matter of seconds. Alongside her impressive research, “open science” is a special area of interest for Dr. Margutti. She works on the Open Supernova Catalog, a centralized, open repository for supernova data. (Read about open science on the Winnower.)

A recent article for Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences states, “…as one of the nation’s very few universities with both a LIGO group and a team that studies ‘transient astronomy’, Northwestern is well positioned to continue its run as a national leader, especially as the National Science Foundation has identified multi-messenger astronomy and gravitational waves as one of the agency’s top priorities.” Read the full article: Upward Trajectory.

Dr. Margutti will be joined at CIERA by Postdoctoral Associate Deanne Coppejans in November.