Research Experiences for Undergrads : Summer 1999

The National Science Foundation makes possible a number of opportunities for undergraduates to join research projects each summer. This allows students to experience first-hand how basic research is carried out, and to contribute consequentially. The principal support by NSF of such activities is through the Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program.

For Summer 1999, CARA has several REU students, profiled briefly below.

Jonathan Mitchell and Nicholas Baicoianu, working with John Ruhl (University of California, Santa Barbara)

Jonathan will be a senior next fall at Westmont College, and Nicholas will be a junior next fall at UCSB. Click to retrieve larger version.
Jon Mitchell, using the numerical mill as a coordinate measuring machine to test the shape of the ACBAR tertiary mirror, which was made in our shop and polished by Jon. The mill is stepping through a grid of points, and he's writing down the surface error shown on the dial indicator. After taking several hundred points, he's going to find the best fit parameters for the mirror, and quantify the rms surface accuracy.

Jill Hanna and Prashant Malhotra, working with Giles Novak (Northwestern U.)

Jill and Prashant are both starting graduate school in the Fall.

Working with Bill Holzapfel (University of California, Berkeley)

Michael Okelly working with Jeff Peterson (Carnegie-Mellon University)

Brian Perry and James Chauvin, working with Harvey Rhody, Professor at the Center for Imaging Science, Rochester Institute of Technology

Brian will be a junior and James will be a senior next Fall, both at RIT.

Henry H. Hsieh working with Tony Stark & Adair Lane (Center for Astrophysics/Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory)

Henry will a Harvard University Senior this Fall. The following comes from his proposal.

The work begun in my junior thesis paper (CI, 12CO, and 13CO Observations of the Galactic Center) will be continued. This work will involve further analyzing and comparing the Bell Labs and AST/RO CI, 12CO, and 13CO data sets which each consist of 75 spectra, only five of which were chosen for analysis in the initial paper. Analysis will consist of dividing spectral features into the 4 categories of foreground, galactic center, molecular ring, and ambiguous features. These data points will then be used to build on the preliminary correlation plots presented in the aforementioned paper, and then further research and/or analysis will be done in an attempt to ascertain the astrophysical implications of the correlation plots.

In addition, I submitted five research proposals to the AST/RO project approval committee in January 1999. These targeted such varied objects as Bok globules and molecular clouds (notably one likely associated with the giant HII region NGC 3603) in the Carina spiral arm of the Milky Way, with specific targets and rationale detailed in the actual proposals. Upon the approval and execution of these observation plans, I will also begin work on processing the results of those observations.

It is highly likely that either the study of the galactic center or one of independently submitted research proposals will form the basis of my senior thesis for the Harvard Astronomy Department. That research which is not included in my thesis shall be slated for journal publication.