Image Credit: LSST Project/NSF/AURA
Northwestern and CIERA understand the tremendous scientific opportunity of the Vera C. Rubin Observatory and it’s Legacy Survey of Space of Time (LSST) and have been an LSSTC institutional member since 2014. LSST science is an integral part of the research done at CIERA, especially in transient astronomy and multi-messenger astrophysics. CIERA members are very active players within the LSST collaboration, and have committed time and resources to maximize the scientific return of LSST observations.
LSST Leadership at CIERA
CIERA Director Prof. Vicky Kalogera was part of the LSSTC board of directors from 2016 to 2019.
Member of the Transient and Variable Star (TVS) collaboration.
Prof. Wen-fai Fong is a member of the Transient and Variable Star (TVS) collaboration.
Within TVS, Fong is a primary member of the GW Follow-up with secondary membership in the Supernovae group.
Prof. Adam Miller is a member of the Transient and Variable Star (TVS) collaboration and Program Director for the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program.
Within TVS, Miller is a primary member of the Classification and Characterization subgroup, with secondary membership in the Fast Transients, Galactic, and Multiwavelength Characterization and Counterparts subgroups.
Dr. Aaron Geller is a member of the Transient and Variable Star (TVS) collaboration. He is interested in statistical analyses of variable stars in general, and in particular of eclipsing binaries (EBs).
Dr. Geller has also funded numerous undergraduates in Rubin-related research through four LSSTC Enabling Science Grants (2017-2020), connecting these students with CIERA’s summer REU program.
LSST Science at CIERA
Profs. Kalogera, Fong, Miller and members of their groups are active in the Transient and Variable Star (TVS) collaboration. CIERA is one of the world leaders in Multi-Messenger Astrophysics (with top LIGO Collaboration members and leaders in electromagnetic follow up of gravitational-wave sources), and we are committed to maximizing LSST’s discovery potential. More broadly, NU/CIERA combines:
- key observational and theoretical expertise in major scientific discovery areas of LSST (transient astrophysics, galaxy structure and evolution, gravitational wave sources, dense stellar dynamics)
- expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analysis, with a long and successful history of collaboration with Machine Learning experts at NU; and
- strong interdisciplinary connections (recognized to uniquely enable creative solutions to problems).
Training the Next Generation of LSST Scientists
CIERA has integrated LSST science into the training and research experiences of the next generation of astronomers, from undergraduates to postdocs.
Dr. Aaron Geller directs CIERA’s well-established and successful interdisciplinary astronomy Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program.
With funding from the LSSTC Enabling Science program, Geller has incorporated LSST science into the REU program since 2017. As a result, students have produced several undergraduate summer research projects related to supernovae, transients and variable stars expected to be observed by the Rubin Observatory.
CIERA’s data science expertise is leveraged to advance both LSST science and student training through the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program and the Integrated Data-Driven Discovery in Earth and Astrophysical Sciences (IDEAS) program. Prof. Adam Miller is Program Director for the LSSTC Data Science Fellowship Program, a training fellowship for graduate students in astronomy and related fields that aims to teach cutting edge methods in data science in advance of the LSST. The IDEAS program, led by Prof. Kalogera, provides funding for students whose research focuses on LSST science and transforms their education by prioritizing integrated research and learning, professional skill development, and preparation for data-intensive careers.
CIERA postdoctoral researchers are active participants in the LSST collaboration.
In 2017, CIERA hosted over 60 experts and young researchers at Supernovae: The LSST Revolution Workshop. The meeting’s goals were to explore key issues from the LSST survey perspective and deliver a white paper which identified challenges and recommendations.
CIERA is a host for LSSTC Catalyst Fellows. The LSSTC Catalyst Fellowship Funded by the John Templeton Foundation is a unique postdoctoral fellowship providing support for independent research in big data from the forthcoming Vera C. Rubin Observatory. The fellowship is a part of the LSST Interdisciplinary Network for Collaboration and Computing (LINCC) initiative, in which Northwestern is a founding member. LINCC is an ambitious program to build community-wide software infrastructure for big data astronomy. Catalyst Fellows at Northwestern receive a total of four years of funding.