Skip to main content
Menu Icon

Graduate & Professional Research Fellowship Award Recipients

Each year the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium awards a number of undergraduate scholarships, graduate, and professional fellowships to the best and brightest college and university students from WSGC affiliate member institutions. The WSGC fellowship awards are based on academic performance, space and aerospace-related promise and the submission of a specific research proposal. The fellowships’ funds help defer the costs of the student’s research.

WSGC is pleased to announce and congratulate the following graduate and professional students on their WSGC Graduate & Professional Research Fellowships.

2017


Erika Carlson
UW-Madison
Research Title: Determining the Fraction of Triple Star Systems in Open Clusters
Synopsis: Stars in triple systems are more likely to interact with other stars in a star cluster. I will determine the fraction of triple star systems in clusters of different ages to study their evolution.

 

Julie Davis
UW-Madison
Research Title: Gas Cycling and the Circumgalactic Medium in CHILES Galaxies
Synopsis: This project investigates how cold neutral, warm ionized, and energetic gas cycles through various galaxies using primarily radio data from the COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES).

Kendall Hall
UW-Madison
Research Title: Molecular Gas Evolution and “CO-Dark” Gas in Perseus
Synopsis: Understanding molecular cloud formation is important to understanding star formation. I am studying the influence of interstellar turbulence on molecule formation and if ionized carbon emission is a better tracer of molecular hydrogen.

Dhaneshvaran Krishnarao
UW-Madison
Research Title: Extragalactic Study of Ionized Gas Extending from Milky Way Knowledge
Synopsis: I will study how different layers of our Galaxy interact with one another by comparing observations of diffuse ionized gas in the Milky Way with hundreds of extragalactic sources.

Casey McGrath
University of Redlands, California
Research Title: Measuring Gravitational Wave Source Distances and Redshift from Pulsar Timing Arrays
Synopsis: This project aims to develop a new gravitational wave based method for measuring cosmic distances. It could be used to test and validate the cosmic distance ladder methods currently used.

Charee Peters
UW-Madison
Research Title: Variability of Radio Active Galactic Nuclei in the CHILES Field
Synopsis: Active galactic nuclei (AGN), supermassive black holes at the center of a galaxy, are relatively unexplored in the radio regime. I am working to understand how their brightness varies over time.

Andrea Vangr
UW-Madison
Research Title: A 3D View into the Co-Evolutionary History of Galaxies and AGN
Synopsis: Our research project aims to study whether there is a connection between radioactive galactic nuclei (AGN) and star formation (SF) activity by analyzing observational signatures of AGN feedback and its viability as the mechanism for truncating SF in galaxies. We will use spatially resolved optical spectra from the ongoing SDSS IV MaNGA survey of 10,000 nearby galaxies, and radio properties at frequencies 150 MHz, 325 MHz, 1.4 GHz to study the timing of AGN and SF activity in galaxies. By comparing the star formation histories derived from MaNGA and AGN activity histories derived from the radio spectral shapes, we will determine how often relatively recent starbursts come with a radio AGN phase to see if there is strong evidence for coevolution between galaxies and AGN. Our results will inform our understanding of a crucial phase in galaxy evolution and provide new timing constraints for these two activities.

2016


Christopher Anderson
UW-Madison
Research Title: Array Development and Data Analysis for 21 cm Intensity Mapping Experiments
Synopsis: I am working on projects that use the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Parkes Telescope in Australia to map the distribution of neutral Hydrogen in the Universe on very large scales, using the 21 cm transition. These are early experiments in a burgeoning field that will help to constrain the parameters of dark matter and dark energy.

Julie Davis
UW-Madison
Research Title: Gas Cycling and the Circumgalatic Medium in the CHILES Galaxies
Synopsis: This project investigates how cold neutral, warm ionized, and energetic gas cycles through various galaxies using primarily radio data from the COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES).

Emily Leiner
UW-Madison
Research Title: Kepler K2 Observations of the Open Cluster M67: A Window into Alternative Pathways of Stellar Evolution.
Synopsis: In open star clusters, a quarter of the evolved stars do not follow the evolutionary paths predicted by theory. I will investigate the origins and ultimate fate of these mysterious stars using observations from Kepler’s K2 Mission.

Claire Murray
UW-Madison
Research Title: Deciphering the interstellar medium with 21-SPONGE and artificial intelligence
Synopsis: I will use deep radio observations and machine learning techniques to probe the structure of neutral
hydrogen in the interstellar medium, which is crucial to the star formation cycle of galaxies.

Aaron Olson
UW-Madison
Research Title: Lunar Helium-3 Extraction System
Synopsis: This research is for the development of a laboratory scale lunar volatiles extraction system for demonstrating and evaluating a process for efficiently acquiring helium-3 and other volatiles from lunar regolith.

Charee Peters
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Variable Radio Sky via CHILES
Synopsis: Despite strongly emitting in radio wavelengths, the radio sky is nearly completely unexplored in terms of variables and transients, most blind radio transient surveys have turned-up non-detections because they have not been deep enough. Improving our understanding of the the fundamental nature of transients and variable sources requires a deep radio continuum survey, which is exactly what we have with the new COSMOS HI Large Extragalactic Survey (CHILES). CHILES will begin to answer: how can time variability be used to most effectively differentiate between supernovae, tidal disruption events, and active galactic nuclei?

Joseph Simon
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Linking Binary Supermassive Black Hole Evolution and Pulsar Timing Array Observations
Synopsis: This project will bring multiple areas of active research together, including galaxy evolution and
gravitational waves, to study how pulsar timing arrays can be used for large-scale astrophysics. 

2015


Mathew Garcia
UW-Madison
Research Title: Forest Disturbance and Recovery in the Upper Great Lakes States
Synopsis: My goal is to use space-based observations to address estimation of disturbance severity, discrimination among several disturbance types, and specific impacts of each disturbance upon forest function. I will then use these analytical products to improve representation of disturbed forest areas in land surface models.

Aaron Olson
UW-Madison
Research Title: Lunar Solar Wind Volatiles Extraction System
Synopsis: The purpose of this research is the development of a prototype volatiles extraction system that will demonstrate a process for acquiring helium-3 from mare region lunar regolith. This helium would be used to fuel future fusion power plants that would produce little to no radioactive waste.

Charee Peters
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Variable Radio Sky via CHILES and a Multi-wavelength Comparison
Synopsis: The question that I propose to answer is: how can the time variability in multiple wavelengths be used to most effectively differentiate between supernovae (SNe), tidal disruption events (TDEs), and active galactic nuclei (AGN)?

Joseph Simon
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Gravitational-Wave Astrophysics with Pulsar Timing Arrays
Synopsis: I am creating a state-of-the-art observational-based simulation framework that will provide critical answers to many open questions surrounding the link between PTA data and binary SMBHs.

Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: A Search for Galactic-Scale Magnetic Fields at z~0.5
Synopsis: The main goal of my project is to help unveil the origin of magnetic fields by looking for the presence of large-scale fields in galaxies when the universe was half its current age. I will examine their environments to determine their size and strength. This information will help to constrain the theories for the origin of magnetic fields.

2014-2015


Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: Origin of Cosmic Magnetic Fields
Synopsis: I use radio observations to study the properties of magnetic fields in galaxies when the universe was nearly half its current age. This helps constrain models on the cosmic origin of magnetic fields.

Claire Murray
UW-Madison
Research Title: Understanding the neutral interstellar medium as a key to star formation
Synopsis: By constraining the properties of warm neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way, I will determine the role of diffuse atomic gas in the formation of dense, star-forming material.

Jenna Ryon
UW-Madison
Research Title: Star Cluster Populations in Nearby Galaxies
Synopsis: Star formation in galaxies commonly results in the production of star clusters. I propose to characterize the star cluster populations of several nearby galaxies using Hubble Space Telescope imaging.

Katelynn Milliman
UW-Madison
Research Title: Formation History of Anomalous Stars in Open Clusters
Synopsis: Open clusters have a wide variety of stars not explainable by standard stellar evolution models. I propose to study these anomalous stars and determine their origins and formation history.

Leslie Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Constraining the neutron-star equation of state
Synopsis: I will develop an improved approach to measuring the neutron-star equation of state, which describes the structure of all neutron stars, with gravitational-wave detectors.

2014-2015


Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: Origin of Cosmic Magnetic Fields
Synopsis: I use radio observations to study the properties of magnetic fields in galaxies when the universe was nearly half its current age. This helps constrain models on the cosmic origin of magnetic fields.

Claire Murray
UW-Madison
Research Title: Understanding the neutral interstellar medium as a key to star formation
Synopsis: By constraining the properties of warm neutral hydrogen in the Milky Way, I will determine the role of diffuse atomic gas in the formation of dense, star-forming material.

Jenna Ryon
UW-Madison
Research Title: Star Cluster Populations in Nearby Galaxies
Synopsis: Star formation in galaxies commonly results in the production of star clusters. I propose to characterize the star cluster populations of several nearby galaxies using Hubble Space Telescope imaging.

Katelynn Milliman
UW-Madison
Research Title: Formation History of Anomalous Stars in Open Clusters
Synopsis: Open clusters have a wide variety of stars not explainable by standard stellar evolution models. I propose to study these anomalous stars and determine their origins and formation history.

Leslie Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Constraining the neutron-star equation of state
Synopsis: I will develop an improved approach to measuring the neutron-star equation of state, which describes the structure of all neutron stars, with gravitational-wave detectors.

Madeline Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: A Continuing Search for Gravitational-Waves from Sub-Solar Mass Black Holes
Synopsis: I am searching for gravitational-waves from primordial black holes. This search will either lead to the first evidence for primordial black holes or to more stringent limits on their existence.

Sydney Chamberlin
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Contributions to Unmodeled GW Searches with aLIGO’s ExcessPower Pipeline
Synopsis: Gravitational waves (GWs) are tiny ripples propagating through universe at the speed of light. This work aims to develop and enhance data analysis infrastructure designed for the detection of GWs.

2013-2014


Blakesley Burkhart
UW-Madison
Research Title: Magnetized Turbulence in the Interplanetary and Interstellar Media
Synopsis: The interstellar and interplanetary media are magnetized and turbulent. I propose to apply statistics to observational data aimed at getting information on valuable plasma physics parameters.

Sydney Chamberlin
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Data analysis Developments in Broadband Gravitational Wave Detection
Synopsis: Gravitational waves (GWs) are produced by sometimes violent astrophysical events. I am developing data analysis techniques to detect GWs, and subsequently reveal the astrophysics behind them.

Justin Ellis
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Detecting Gravitational Waves with Pulsar Timing Arrays
Synopsis: The detection of Gravitational Waves will open a new window into astrophysics. For this project we will develop data analysis methods that can accurately detect and characterize GW sources.

Teri Gerard
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Hydrothermal Alteration of Lavas at Lassen Volcanic National Park: Potential Mars Analog
Synopsis: Determining the mineralogical and geochemical trends that occur in varied hydrothermal systems furthers our understanding of the origin of alteration minerals seen on Mars.

Danielle Nielsen
UW-Madison
Research Title: Investigating the Intragroup Medium with Bent-Double Radio Galaxies
Synopsis: Characterizing the intragroup medium is important for understanding both galaxy and group evolution. I propose to investigate the nature of bent-double lobe radio galaxies as probes of the IGM.

Jenna Ryon
UW-Madison
Research Title: Star-Forming Structures in Nearby Galaxies
Synopsis: Star formation plays a key role in the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time. I propose to study the connections between small- and large-scale stellar structures in a range of galactic environments.

Madeline Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Search for Gravitational-waves from Sub-solar Mass Black Holes in LIGO Data
Synopsis: I am searching data taken by initial LIGO for gravitational-wave signatures from sub-solar mass black hole binaries in hopes of discovering a direct detection of gravitational-waves.

Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: Origin of Cosmic Magnetic Fields
Synopsis: I am working on a large radio survey to look for large-scale magnetic fields in galaxies. We will compare our results with current theories to constrain the origin of magnetic fields in the universe.

Katelyn Milliman
UW-Madison
Research Title: Formation of Blue Stragglers in Open Cluster Environments
Synopsis: Determining and modeling the dominant formation channel for blue stragglers, stars that are living longer than standard theory predicts.

Sean DuBois
UW-Madison
Research Title: Ecosystem Metabolism Assessed Across Climatic and Vegetation Gradients
Synopsis: Calculating forest metabolism rates from hyperspectral remote sensing data. Eddy covariance flux tower data is used to create an ecosystem model to verify results.

2012-2013


Eric Alar
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Thermal Response of Non-Rare-Earth Cryocooler Regenerator Disks
Synopsis: To measure a time difference in heat waves propagated through a traditional regenerator and a new non-rare-earth composite regenerator, revealing an improvement in pulse tube cryocoolers.

Christopher Anderson
UW-Madison
Research Title: 21cm Intensity Mapping with Prototype Receiver
Synopsis: Survey of hydrogen, measuring 21-cm photon emission. Redshift allows us to look back in cosmic time. Clumping of hydrogen will allow us to infer dark matter distribution.

Blakesley Burkhart
UW-Madison
Research Title: New Measures of Interstellar Turbulence: Connecting Observations & Numerics
Synopsis: The interstellar medium is known to be turbulent. I propose to investigate statistics of magnetized turbulence applied to observations and simulations.

Sydney Chamberlin
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Developing a Data Analysis Pipeline for the NANOGrav Pulsar Timing Array
Synopsis: Gravitational waves, when detected, promise to open a new observational window on the universe. To make their detection possible, we propose to develop and implement a data analysis search pipeline.

Justin Ellis
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Towards Gravitational Wave Detection Using Pulsar Timing Arrays
Synopsis: The detection of gravitational waves will open a new window into astronomy and astrophysics. The construction of sensitive and efficient data analysis pipelines will allow us to accomplish this goal.

Amanda Gault
UW-Madison
Research Title: Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer Data Analysis
Synopsis: The Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer, a test-bed for technology for the Einstein Inflation Probe, made observations in 2009. The data from these observations will be analyzed.

Teri Gerard
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Fumarole Alteration of Hawaiian Basalts: Potential Mars Analog
Synopsis: Determining the mineral assemblages and geochemical pathways associated with fumarole alteration of Hawaiian basalts: a potential Mars analog.

Jordan Gerth
UW-Madison
Research Title: Unifying Meteorological Techniques for Building a Consistent Cloud Analysis
Synopsis: The purpose of this project is to build an hour-averaged sky cover analysis which serves as a validation tool for cloud forecasts produced by the National Weather Service as part of their operations.

Phil Gopon
UW-Madison
Research Title: Soft X-Ray EPMA Analyses of Nanophase Lunar Fe-Si Compounds
Synopsis: Our goal is to measure the chemistry of sub-micron iron-silicides found in lunar regolith believed to be associated with impact structures.

Amy Lowitz
UW-Madison
Research Title: Detectors for Measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation
Synopsis: Developing microwave kinetic inductance detectors for use in QUBIC, a novel instrument for observing anisotropies in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background.

Claire Murray
UW-Madison
Research Title: Probing the Warm-to-Cold Neutral Gas Transition as a Step in Star Formation
Synopsis: Investigating the conversion of cold to warm atomic gas as a key step in star formation, I will undertake a statistical study of the temperature distribution of warm neutral gas in the Milky Way.

Danielle Nielsen
UW-Madison
Research Title: Bent Double Radio Sources and the Baryonic Content of the Universe
Synopsis: Bent double radio galaxies have relativistic jets which appear curved. I propose to determine if the observed curvature results from ram pressure and how well these galaxies probe the IGM of groups.

Darren Pilcher
UW-Madison
Research Title: Nutrient and Productivity Impacts of Dreissena Mussels in Lake Michigan
Synopsis: A coupled physical and biological 3-D model will be applied to Lake Michigan to quantify the carbon budget and assess the impacts of invasive Dreissena mussel species on productivity.

Leslie Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Continuous Gravitational Wave Searches from Galactic Neutron Stars
Synopsis: Advanced LIGO headlines the next generation of ground-based gravitational wave detectors. I am using a simulation to assess the detectability of the galactic neutron star population by Advanced LIGO.

Madeline Wade
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Using the Measurability of Spin to Test the Cosmic Censorship Conjecture
Synopsis: In anticipation of a new era of gravitational wave detectors, I am developing a method for gaining information about astrophysical systems from a gravitational wave signal.

Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: Origin of Cosmic Magnetic Fields
Synopsis: I am looking for magnetic fields in disk-like galaxies to determine how these systems have evolved since the universe was half its current age, and constrain the origin of cosmic magnetic fields.

Corey Wood
UW-Madison
Research Title: A Comprehensive Study of Galactic Winds in Nearby Disk Galaxies
Synopsis: We have created two new integral field units for studying both edge-on and face-on galaxies. We will use one of these IFUs to study galactic winds using a homogeneous target sample.

2011-2012


Blakesley Burkhart
UW-Madison
Research Title: From Kiloparsecs to Sub-AU: Characterizing Interstellar Turbulence
Synopsis: Turbulence is critical in understanding ISM structure, however it is not easily studied. I will develop tools to study turbulence in the ISM, focusing on two phase media and radiative transfer.

Sydney Chamberlin
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Optimal Strategies for the Detection of Non-Einsteinian Gravitational Waves
Synopsis: The detection of gravitational waves will usher in a new era of astrophysical research. To make detection feasible in the next decade, a series of statistical data analysis tools will be developed.

Jordan Gerth
UW-Madison
Research Title: Improving NWP with NPP
Synopsis: This proposal involves earth science research quantifying the impact and value of NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) data on high-resolution numerical weather forecasts.

Amanda Gault
UW-Madison
Research Title: Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer Data Analysis
Synopsis: The Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer, a test-bed for technology for the Einstein Inflation Probe, made observations in 2009. The data from these observations will be analyzed.

Amy Lowitz
UW-Madison
Research Title: Q & U Bolometric Interferometer for Cosmology
Synopsis: QUBIC is a novel instrument for observing anisotropies in the polarization of the cosmic microwave background to confirm or refute important predictions in inflation theory.

Bradley Moore
UW-Madison
Research Title: A Cold Cycle Dilution Refrigeration Cycle
Synopsis: A cold cycle dilution refrigeration cycle provides continuous cooling for space science instruments to temperatures below 1 Kelvin is critical for new infrared and x-ray astrophysics missions.

Danielle Nielson
UW-Madison
Research Title: Exploring Diffuse Radio Emission in Galaxy Groups
Synopsis: Extended radio emission provides information on properties of galaxy clusters, such as magnetic fields and dynamical activity. We propose to study radio emission in galaxy groups.

Anna Williams
UW-Madison
Research Title: Two Perspectives of Star Formation at Two Cosmic Epochs
Synopsis: This project aim is to better understand galaxy evolution by measuring the metallicity of galaxies during the peak epoch of star formation, and by looking for AGN feedback in post-starburst galaxies.

Isak Wold
UW-Madison
Research Title: A Search for Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies at Early Cosmic Times
Synopsis: The goal of this program is to determine if our current understanding of galaxy evolution can accommodate the observed population of distant ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs).

2010-2011


Blakesley Burkhart
UW-Madison
Research Title: Characterizing Magnetohydrodynamic Turbulence in the ISM
Synopsis: The study of turbulence is important in order to gain insight into the ISM. I propose to use dendrograms and tsallis statistics to gain insight into turbulence parameters, sonic & Alfven Mach numbers.

Sydney Chamberlin
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Gravitational Wave Tests of the Theory of Gravity
Synopsis: Recent developments in gravitational wave astronomy may be used to test various metric theories of gravity.

Jordan Gerth
UW-Madison
Research Title: Blending MODIS and in-situ observations as NWP initial conditions for NPP
Synopsis: This proposal seeks funding for research quanitifying the impact and value of NASA Earth Observing System (EOS) data on weather forecasts in the Great Lakes region.

Natalie Gosnell
UW-Madison
Research Title: Survey of Open Cluster X-Ray Populations
Synopsis: There is a well-established link in globular clusters between X-ray sources and cluster dynamics. This project sets out to find if a similar link exists with the X-ray populations of open clusters.

Kelley Hess
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Evolution of HI in Galaxy Groups in the Coma-A1367 Supercluster
Synopsis: Our goal is to study the cold neutral gas in galaxy groups to estimate the evolution that occurs through galaxy-galaxy interactions, and through ram pressure stripping.

Stefanie Knauf
UW-Madison
Research Title: Flow and Heat Transfer Correlations for Passive Regenerators
Synopsis: Optimization of active magnetic regenerative refrigeration systems provides an environmentally safe, gravity independent, high-efficient substitute to current air conditioning and refrigeration units.

Benjamin Lackey
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Extracting equation of state parameters from binary neutron star inspiral
Synopsis: Gravitational wave observations of binary neutron stars can strongly constrain the equation of state. I will develop techniques for extraction of state parameters from the data.

Marco Lo Ricco
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Analysis and Testing of Composite Materials Subject to Impact and Repair
Synopsis: Repair methodologies for lightweight, high-strength composite materials used in aerospace structures will be developed to aid decisionmakers in determining the efficacy of patches to their fleets.

Louis Nigra
UW-Madison
Research Title: Cancellation of Space-Based Intereference in Radio Telescopes
Synopsis: An innovative prototype Radio Frequency Interference cancellation system for the Arecibo radio telescope to reduce undesired GPS satellite signals that can degrade the quality of scientific data.

Joseph Ruffini
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Hematite & Sulfate Minerals in Lava Tubes: Potential Mars Anologues
Synopsis: The mineralogy and geochemistry of hematite, silica, and sulfate minerals in a basalitic cave environment: potential analog for Mars.

Andrew Schechtman-Rook
UW-Madison
Research Title: Decoding the Kinematics of Face-on Spiral Galaxies with a Genetic Algorithm
Synopsis: We employ a genetic algorithm and a realistic model to improve estimates of the vertical velocity dispersion in face-on spiral galaxies, a key component in measuring a galaxy’s dark matter mass.

Jonathan Van Dyke
Medical College of Wisconsin
Research Title: Stretch Plus Contraction is Required to Prevent Muscle Atrophy
Synopsis: This study will examine the combined effect of contraction plus stretch on preventing muscle atrophy in a rat model and aid the development of exercise countermeasures for long-term human spaceflight.

2009-2010


Lisa Anderson-Antle
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Simulated Weightlessness and Radiation in Bone Health
Synopsis: Space is a hazardous environment with the potential to challenge the long-term health of astronauts. As weightlessness may impact the influence of radiation on long-term tissue regeneration, it is important to understand the underlying molecular and cellular mechanisms so that effective interventions can be found. Our long-term goals are to determine the mechanisms of tissue degeneration and to develop effective countermeasures for musculoskeletal disuse. Studies using both physiological and molecular approaches will be used to achieve our objectives. This research is relevant to clinical conditions of physical inactivity and immobilization.

Emily Barrentiner
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Development of a Transition Edge Hot-Electron Microbolometer
Synopsis: Future NASA missions to probe the Cosmic Microwave Background polarization will need sensitive detectors provided by arrays of 1000s of bolometers. My project will develop a Transition-Edge Hot-Electron Microbolometer to fill this need.

Blakesley Burkhart
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Quest for Understanding Interstellar Turbulence: New Ways of Analyzing Data
Synopsis: Astronomers have long wanted to characterize sonic and Alfven Mach numbers in the ISM as well as measure the spectrum of turbulent velocities in order to test theoretical models. In response to this, I propose to conduct a study using new density and velocity diagnostic tools that will increase the information yield provided by column densities and emission and absorption lines. For my analysis of velocity spectrum, I will use the Velocity Channel Analysis (VCA) and the Velocity Coordinate Spectrum (VCS) to measure the turbulent velocity spectra. The anticipated outcome of this project using both density and velocity tools will be the localization of the places of energy injection and dissipation in various phases of the Milky Way, insight into the energetic connection between the warm and cold gas, characterization of magnetic and sonic Mach numbers, as well as clarification of the nature of the compressible turbulent cascade.

Amanda Gault
UW-Madison
Research Title: Observing with the Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interfrerometer
Synopsis: The Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer, a test-bed for technology for the Einstein Inflation Probe, will begin observing this year. These observations and characterizations of the instrument will continue through 2009.

Aaron Geller
UW-Madison
Research Title: The Progeny of Stellar Dynamics and Stellar Evolution
Synopsis: Through detailed integration of forefront observations and theory, the proposed NGC 188 N-body simulation will greatly advance our understanding of the interplay of the fundamental fields of stellar evolution and stellar dynamics.

Jordan Gerth
UW-Madison
Research Title: Applying MODIS Atmosphere Observations to Numerical Weather Prediction Simulations
Synopsis: This work proposes using the Weather Research and Forecast (WRF) Model with initial conditions modified by data from two NASA satellites equipped with a MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) to assess the impact of space-based data on mesoscale weather simulations (occurring on a horizontal grid of 20-kilometer spacing or less) over regional sectors. A particularly notable region is the Great Lakes, where the marine-modified atmosphere plays a significant role in the weather of coastal communities. The end goal is to show improved temperature and moisture forecasts and provide this data to the National Weather Service (NWS) in real-time.

Diana Husmann
UW-Madison
Research Title: Time Lab between Solar PV Efficiency Breakthroughs and Mass-Production in Public and Private Research
Synopsis: Comparing solar PV efficiency breakthroughs coming from public and private labs to determine which breakthroughs have been commercialized the most quickly and suggest better commercialization methods.

Ryan Keenan
UW-Madison
Research Title: Galaxy Evolution Study
Synopsis: This project is an astronomy collaboration involving the use of telescopes in the United States and in Chile to study the spectra of a large sample of galaxies for the purpose of constraining galaxy evolution through major mergers.

Benjamin Lackey
UW-Milwaukee
Research Title: Extracting Equation of State Parameters from Neutron-Star Observations
Synopsis: The neutron-star equation of state can be highly constrained with current observations and expected future electromagnetic and gravitational wave observations of compact binary systems. Both analytical and numerical work will be done to determine how these observations can be most accurately mapped onto the equation of state. The results can be used to determine the configuration of advanced gravitational wave detectors that will maximize their sensitivity to equation of state parameters encoded in the waveforms.

Claus Moberg
UW-Madison
Research Title: A Satellite- and Modeling-Based Source Apportionment Analysis of Tropospheric Ozone Pollution Over the Western United States
Synopsis: This project uses satellite- and ground-based observations of atmospheric variables to constrain a regional model of atmospheric chemistry over the Western United States. The goal of the project is to better determine the relative importance of stratospheric ozone contributions to ground-level concentrations of ozone pollution.

Jordan Muss
UW-Madison
Research Title: Measurement of Three-Dimensional Canopy Structure Using Discrete Lidar Data
Synopsis: Forest canopy structure will be measured using discrete lidar data and methods typically reserved for waveform data. A new technique will be developed that describes 3-D clumping of canopy elements.

Laura Trouille
UW-Madison
Research Title: X-Ray and Optical Spectral Properties of Active Galactic Nuclei
Synopsis: I explore the X-ray and optical spectral properties of a highly spectroscopically complete sample of Chandra Active Galactic Nuclei in order to better understand the interaction between the ionizing flux and the surrounding material.

Jonathan Van Dyke
Medical College of WI
Research Title: Understanding Stretch-Induced Subcellular Signals Responsible for Countering Muscle Atrophy
Synopsis: This research is designed to characterize the stretch-induced interaction between two subcellular signaling factors, p38 MAPK and MEF2, and their role in preventing loss muscle wasting in unloaded skeletal muscle.

2008-2009


Claudia Cyganowski
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: On a Bubble’s Edge: Molecular Gas and Triggered Star Formation
Synopsis: The GLIMPSE survey shows that small, infrared-bright dust bubbles produced by massive stars pervade the Galactic Plane. Cyganowski will investigate whether the expansion of these bubbles triggers star formation in surrounding molecular gas.

Valerie Bennington
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Understanding Lake Superior Biogeochemistry
Synopsis: I will create an ecosystem model appropriate for Lake Superior’s food web, nutrient limitations, and carbon chemistry. I will couple this ecosystem model to the MIT general circulation model, adapted to Lake Superior’s bathymetry, to determine the annual flux of carbon between the lake and the atmosphere. I will determine the importance of biological productivity on the lake’s annual flux, and I will quantify how physical climate variability affects productivity and the resulting carbon flux. Such analysis will enable researchers to estimate the future carbon fluxes of Lake Superior in varying climate scenarios. Lake Superior is oligotrophic and future land use may alter the supply of phosphorous to the lake. I will determine whether changes in the macronutrient budget of Lake Superior could have an effect on its carbon exchange. From all of these experiments, the importance of biological production to variability in the lake flux will be determined. If biological production is a first-order control of lake flux variability, satellite-derived estimates of lake chlorophyll can be used to estimate changes in the lake flux.

Yakira Braden
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Parameter Calibration and Computer Simulations for Complex Physical Systems
Synopsis: Today, companies across the world are constantly in search of innovative ideas that can reduce their cost of production and operation and increase their profits. Many industries aim to simulate a model of their physical system of interest as opposed to producing and testing the actual system. The proposed research of system identification, often referred to as parameter calibration, yields itself as an appealing and applicable cost effective solution that satisfies this goal. When applying parameter calibration in conjunction with computer simulation of complex physical systems, the model of this physical system is constructed in a simulation program called ADAMS and model parameters are calibrated in order to produce results that closely match the field data gathered from the physical system. ADAMS is a motion simulation solution for analyzing the complex behavior of mechanical assemblies. Parameter calibration will be a useful modeling tool in the aerospace industry, as far as system manufacturing is concerned, because it provides one with the insight needed to make an accurate estimation of the cost of production including man power, cost of materials, amount of materials needed, and construction completion time. Foreseeable design and construction problems can also identified.

Megan Christenson
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Using Land Use Change as Predictor of Disease Emergence
Synopsis: Explore the hypothesis by conducting interviews in a community in Brazil where a Chagas disease outbreak has occurred in order to obtain data about the disease transmission and shifts in land use (i.e., deforestation).

Amanda Gault
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Observing with the Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interfrerometer
Synopsis: The Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer, a test-bed for technology for the Einstein Inflation Probe, will begin observing this year. These observations and characterizations of the instrument will continue through 2009.

Matthew Glenz
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Research Title: Proposal to Research Cosmic Neutrinos and Spectrum of Early Universe Fluctuations
Synopsis: Determine spectrum of early universe inflaton fluctuations in a way that does not depend on regularization of the quantized fluctuation in curved spacetime; continue research into cosmic neutrinos.

Kelley Hess
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Environmental Impacts on the Evolution of Galaxy Groups in the Coma-A1367 Supercluster
Synopsis: Investigate the HI content of galaxy groups and their member galaxies surrounding the Coma-A1367 Supercluster. Within this large volume of the Universe, galaxy groups reside in a large range of environments. The goal of this study is to quantify the evolution of galaxies and their cold gas in groups, as a function of the local density. This study will utilize the wealth of data acquired through the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA Survey.

Evan Alec Johnson
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Multiscale Algorithm for Onset of Fast Magnetic Reconnection
Synopsis: An adaptive multiscale method will be developed to efficiently model the onset of fast reconnection.

Justin Madsen
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Validation of Novel Rigid Body Frictional Contact Algorithms Using Tracked Vehicle Simulation: A Stepping Stone for Billion Body Dynamics
Synopsis: Computer modeling and simulation of mechanical systems with many rigid body frictional contacts is currently limited due to inefficient formulation. A time-stepping method which describes frictional impacts and contacts as unilateral constraints and solves the resulting linear complementarity problem on the velocity-impulse level with a novel fixed-point iteration process has recently been introduced. Research will be done to determine the accuracy of this new formulation by running a series of simulations on a hydraulic excavator model.

Michael Morrissey
Marquette University
Research Title: Examination of Granular Surface Impact via Particle Vision Velocimetry
Synopsis: The objective of this research project is to better understand the dynamics associated with the impact of loose granular material. This is an important phenomenon to study when exploring different bodies in our universe. Using these different projectiles as a simple probe, NASA would be able to launch an object at any surface in space and observe the crater formation and the debris that ejects from the crater to better understand the geology within. When an object impacts a granular surface, a shock wave forms below, meanwhile, the ejecta, initially below the surface, rises and lands on top of the surface. When this crater and debris is studied, one can better determine the geological makeup of the planet and possibly the existence of water, a key component of sustained human space exploration. Experimental simulations will illustrate a metal sphere accelerating through a surface of sand, which will be recorded by a high speed camera. The images will then be post-processed by PIV software to better understand the shock wave preceding the sphere, as well as the ejecta accelerating upwards. Preliminary experiments indicate this technique is viable.

Harrison Skye
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Modeling and Experimentation with a Cascaded Mixed Gas Joule-Thomons Cryocooler for Aerospace Applications
Synopsis: Cryocoolers are a common critical component for space flight missions that provide cooling for liquid propellant storage, infrared detector arrays, and a variety of other applications. Multiple stage Mixed Gas Joule-Thomson (MGJT) cryocoolers divide the large temperature range that must be spanned in most applications into two smaller temperature spans are each addressed more using a more compact system. The system offers high reliability and excellent vibration and electrical resistance because the compressors operate at warm temperatures and are decoupled from the load heat exchanger. The system operates in a continuous flow loop and is therefore the working fluid is readily transported to integrate to distant or spatially large loads. This paper describes a project that will use a numerical model of a MGJT cycle to select optimal gas mixtures in order to provide a maximal amount of refrigeration given hardware constraints including compressor and heat exchanger size. An experimental test facility will be constructed to measure key temperatures, pressures, flow rates, and thermal loads which characterize the performance of the system. The experimental performance results will be incorporated into the numerical model to select an optimal mixture for the specific system studied here. Experimental measurements will be used to verify the increase in available refrigeration and to refine the predictive capabilities of the model.

2007-2008


Ella Braden
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: The Young Open Cluster M35 as a Probe of Stellar Dynamics and Binary Populations
Synopsis: In order to improve current understanding of stars and stellar evolution, Braden will analyze the binary frequency, mass-segregation, stars showing anomalous spectra and eclipsing binaries in the young open cluster M35.

Claudia Cyganowski
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: On a Bubble’s Edge: Molecular Gas and Triggered Star Formation
Synopsis: The GLIMPSE survey shows that small, infrared-bright dust bubbles produced by massive stars pervade the Galactic Plane. Cyganowski will investigate whether the expansion of these bubbles triggers star formation in surrounding molecular gas.

Emily Freeland
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Bent-Double Radio Sources as Probes of the Intragroup Medium
Synopsis: The vast majority of galaxies, including the Milky Way, reside in loose groups which are small dynamical systems typically containing a handful of large galaxies and a large number of smaller ones. Groups probably contain a significant fraction of the total baryonic mass in the local universe in their intragroup medium (IGM). Aside from a handful of X-ray observations almost nothing is known about the IGM in these systems. This is a continuation of a thesis project consisting of radio and optical observations that will allow Freeland to measure the density of the IGM to an unprecedented degree.

Amanda Gault
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Microwave Instrumentation and the Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer
Synopsis: Advanced microwave phase modulators will provide lock-in detection of small CMB signals. These are being tested for use in the Millimeter-wave Bolometric Interferometer, a test-bed for technology for the Einstein Inflation Probe.

Matthew Glenz
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Research Title: Proposal to Research a New Modeling of Inflation and High Energy Neutrino Detections to Probe Distant Universe
Synopsis: Develop new method of modeling inflation to explore the history of the universe and examine neutrino interaction signatures to be used as probes of physics in the distant universe.

Kelley Hess
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Gas Evolution in Galaxy Groups as a Function of Environment
Synopsis: The properties of gas in and around galaxies trace the evolutionary history of large-scale structures over the lifetime of the universe. The most interesting and least well studied of these structures are groups: collections of a handful of massive galaxies and large numbers of small galaxies. Close to 70 percent of all galaxies are believed to reside in such groups, and therefore they are a key evolutionary link between individual galaxies and the massive clusters. Hess will identify a sample of galaxy groups detected in the Arecibo Legacy Fast ALFA (ALFALFA) survey, and use the observations to study the characteristics of the cold neutral gas that lies within the late-type galaxies. Meanwhile, X-ray observations identify active galactic nuclei (AGN), and trace the hot gas that lies in the intragroup medium. By examining and quantifying the properties of gas in a sample of groups, Hess hopes to understand the impact of AGN on groups, and how the groups evolve as a function of environment.

Evan Alec Johnson
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Relaxation Algorithm for Two-Fluid Space Plasmas
Synopsis: A relaxation method will be developed to switch naturally and adaptively between two-fluid and one-fluid plasma models.

Tobias Keidl
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Research Title: On Finding Fields and Self-Force in a Gauge Appropriate to Separable Wave Equations
Synopsis: Keidl will look at a binary black hole system composed of a supermassive black hole orbited by a stellar sized black hole and will examine the motion and radiation emitted by this system to calculate a waveform suitable for use by LISA.

Amanda Kepley
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Magnetic Fields in Irregular Galaxies
Synopsis: Kepley will investigate the magnetic field structure of irregular galaxies using observations at radio wavelengths in order to understand how large-scale fields are generated in these galaxies.

Ryan Taylor
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Computational Fluid Dynamic Modeling of Pulse-Tube Refrigerators
Synopsis: Taylor will carry out fundamental work that will enable the deployment of high efficiency pulse-tube refrigerators (PTRs) for aerospace applications by developing an experimentally-verified and powerful CFD model that can be applied to the design of efficient pulse tubes. The specific objective of the work is the development of computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models of pulse tube/flow transition behavior using the commercial software FLUENT. These CFD models will be experimentally-validated using data taken at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Boulder, CO. The experimentally-validated model will be used to generate design charts which will enable a pulse-tube designer the ability to use the most optimal pulse-tube design for a given set of operational parameters to maximize system efficiency.

Jonathan Van Dyke
Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
Research Title: Searching for a Muscle Atrophy Countermeasure in Over-Wintering Black Bears
Synopsis: Van Dyke will study the mechanism bears use to maintain muscle mass during hibernation and resist the negative effects of reduced weight bearing activity. This may be applied in humans to preserve skeletal muscle in microgravity.

Background Image of Earth