Jessie and seven other NC State physics students travelled to California for physcon, the quadrennial physics congress and largest gathering of undergraduate physics students in the world. Jessie presented her ongoing research modeling Kepler's supernova remnant.
Eric defended his Ph.D. thesis, Three-dimensional Hydrodynamic Simulations of Accretion in High-mass X-ray Binaries in front of faculty, friends, and family. His thesis work has already generated one peer-reviewed publication, with three more wrapping up and soon (?!) to be submitted. Eric is heading off to Columbia University where he will be a Science Fellow.
Observations with the NuSTAR telescope reported in Nature show that the unshocked Titanium in the supernova remnant Cassiopeia A is distributed in a non-uniform way that is consistent with the effects of the SASI. Read the story of the SASI discovery in Deixix.
Mia de los Reyes (center) and Alwin Mao (left) have been named 2014 Goldwater Scholars. They both participated in the URCA program in the summer of 2012. Mia is currently an undergraduate at NC State and Alwin is an undergraduate at UC-Berkely.
NC State Astrophysics was well represented at the 223rd meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Washington, DC. Six of the 2013 URCA participants, one from 2012, graduate student Eric Raymer, and three faculty presented a variety of research projects during the four days of the meeting.
Physics graduate student Eric Raymer has received a GAANN Fellowship in Computational Science to support his graduate studies for his fifth (and final?!) year at NC State. Eric has published already published two papers in which he has used large-scale 3D hydrodynamic simulations to study astrophysical systems. His thesis will apply 3D simulations of gravitational accretion to interpret the x-ray light curves of a new class of interacting binary stars known as Supergiant Fast X-Ray Transients.
Physics major Mia de los Reyes was recognized for her outstanding research at the NCSU Undergraduate Research Symposium. Her research on Two- and Three-Dimensional Turbulence in Core-Collapse Supernovae began last summer when she participated in the NC State Physics URCA program. She has continued this work during the academic year, including collaboration with researchers at Oak Ridge National Labs. She was presented with her UGRS award at the annual awards banquet of the NCSU Chapter of Sigma Xi.
The June issue of Science includes a series of articles on Mysteries of Astronomy, including dark energy, cosmic rays, and exploding stars. The article on supernovae by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee points out that “many details of what goes on inside a star leading up to an explosion, as well as how that explosion unfolds, remain a mystery.” The discovery of the Spherical Accretion Shock Instability, or SASI, by the Blondin group has proven to be a key contribution to the solution of this mystery. The Science article includes visualizations generated from three-dimensional simulations of the SASI computed on supercomputers at the National Center for Computational Sciences.
The new wing of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, the Nature Research Center, staged a 24-hour grand opening that drew 70,000 visitors. The event included numerous groups lining the streets outside the museum. One of those was the NC State chapter of the Society of Physics Students, who wowed children and adults with fun physics demonstrations.
Professor Blondin joined the fun by giving a ‘science cafe’ style presentation at 3:15 (in the morning!) outside the Astronomy Research Lab on the third floor of the NRC. He talked about supernovae, black holes, and neutron stars. The questions ranged from frame-dragging by a rotating black hole to Captain Kirk and the Enterprise.