Outreach Talks

Competitions from the perspective of a student

International Astronomical Union – Office of Astronomy Education, 3rd Shaw-IAU Workshop

Competitions create an educational opportunity for students of all backgrounds. In this talk I will discuss data that shows that by participating in competitions, students can learn to feel like scientists, get to know interesting peers from other countries, learn from each other, solve fun challenges, learn the value of teamwork, and have an overall fun and rewarding experience. Awareness of the existence of the competitions can motivate a student to start learning the subject, and good results in competitions have resulted in college admission and retention of interest in research.

Stardust and Cosmology

Talk given at the Gloucester Area Astronomy Club Monthly meeting

In this talk I discuss the topic and results based of my work for my PhD thesis.

Over the past 30 years, the cosmic microwave background (CMB) has profoundly influenced our understanding of the history of our universe and ushered in an era of precision cosmology. The spatial anisotropy (both polarized and unpolarized) has been the focus of both experiment and theory, and has driven the field forward. One of the next frontiers of CMB science is the spectral distortion of the CMB. Primordial spectral distortions of the CMB are sensitive to energy injection by exotic physics in the early universe. The proposed Primordial Inflation Explorer (PIXIE) mission has the raw sensitivity to provide meaningful limits on new physics, but only if foreground emission can be adequately modeled. In this thesis, I analyse the impact of including galactic dust and cosmic infrared background modeling on CMB spectral distortion detection, while still expecting PIXIE to constrain synchrotron, free-free emission, and the spectral distortion from the blackbody temperature deviation.

In order to adequately model the dust foreground, I also focus on exploring the properties of galactic dust. Dust is an important component of the interstellar medium, forming structures in the space between the stars in our galaxy. The size and composition of dust grains is spatially variable within our galaxy, and possibly across cosmic time. We have ideas about the chief constituents of dust, but detailed knowledge is elusive. I study the effect of variations in dust size distribution and composition on the correlation between the spectral shape of extinction (parameterized by RV and far-infrared dust emissivity (parameterized by the power-law index β).

Finally, for this thesis, I create the first large-scale 3 dimensional map of the temperature of the dust in the interstellar medium.  Having a better understanding of the 3D dust can help us characterize the 3D structure of the magnetic field, and compute the six-dimensional phase-space density of the interstellar radiation field (the amount of light in every 3D voxel, in every direction, at every energy).

Videouri in Limba Romana/Outreach Talks in Romanian

De ce educatia STEM?

Un video parte din campania de promovare a educatiei stem in scolile Romaniei, desfasurata de organizatia Ucenicul astronom

In videoul acesta raspund scurt la 4 intrebari:
Cine Sunt?
De ce STEM?
Cine m-a inspirat?
Provocari, obstacole?

Multumiri lui Christopher McKenzie pentru inregistrare si editare
Many thanks to Christopher McKenzie for recording and editing.