NGC 6164  

PHYSICS & ASTRONOMY
UNIVERSITY OF DENVER

 

 
I am an associate professor and astronomer at the University of Denver. I study how massive stars interact with their environments, both before and after they explode as supernovae.
 
Sabbatical stories
2014 October 30 — I am currently on sabbatical from DU and enjoying an extended visit to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I earned my Ph.D. I'll be giving a departmental colloquium on November 6, presenting a public talk at UW Space Place on November 11, visiting East High School, working with local collaborators on research and outreach projects, and writing a grant proposal. My Ph.D. student Manisha Shrestha will also be joining me in November before she heads to present a research poster at the Supercomputing 2014 conference in New Orleans.
 
I kicked off the sabbatical with another lovely 2 weeks at the Aspen Center for Physics in September (and I discovered that there's a photo of me on their webpage!). I attended a workshop on stellar and AGN winds and spent time finishing up a few ongoing projects.
 
One of those projects has now borne fruit with an accepted paper by Jamie Lomax, my former Ph.D. student (and current postdoc at the University of Oklahoma). The study combines X-ray spectroscopy and optical spectropolarimetry of the eclipsing colliding-wind binary V444 Cygni; we found evidence from both techniques that radiative braking and Coriolis forces produce a wind-collision region that has a very large opening angle and is offset from the line of centers between the stars. The paper is now out on astro-ph (1410.6117) and will appear in A&A shortly. It's the second paper to appear from Jamie's Ph.D. dissertation.
 
I'm also hatching plans to spend time at the University of Arizona early next year: stay tuned!
 
AAS recap
2014 January 10 — My Ph.D. student Manisha Shrestha and I just returned from the 223rd American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington, DC. We both presented posters and had several productive discussions with colleagues. My recently graduated Ph.D. student Jamie Lomax also attended to present her dissertation talk, for which she won a Doxsey Travel Prize from the AAS. A highlight of the meeting was Neil deGrasse Tyson's plenary talk, for which we got front-row seats!
 
I was excited by the extent to which the meeting had a virtual component: the AAS set up "Extras" pages (here's mine) where each poster author could archive supplementary information, and the commentary on Twitter was lively and fascinating (cool stats here). There was also lots of meta-discussion of scientific data presentation and education and demographics within the field of astronomy. All in all, an excellent meeting that made me look forward to the next one!
 
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Banner image:
NGC 6164, ©2009 by Don Goldman.