I’m Gautham Narayan (@gsnarayan). I study supernovae and other things that go bump in the night. I work on identifying and classifying them very early with machine learning, understanding their progenitor systems, finding the electromagnetic counterparts of gravitational wave sources, calibrating their brightness and using them to constrain the nature of dark energy, and I’m studying the interplay between these stellar deaths and their environments. I’m currently the Lasker Data Science Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute (@stsci), and I’m particularly excited to talk exploding stars with you this week because we’ve got TWO awesome meetings about this field, so you’ll hear about the forefront of our field and meet some of the awesome people I work with! I grew up in India, the UK and Ireland, moved to Illinois Wesleyan for my undergraduate work, Harvard for my Ph.D., and the National Optical Astronomy Observatory for my postdoctoral work. I’m delighted to be moving to the University of Illinois this Fall. Aside from science, there may also be tweeting about the academic job search, baby owls, building the LEGO Millennium Falcon, re-watching Marvel movies, hiking outside Baltimore, and ranting about how my dog Kepler has stolen my dinner/place on the bed/heart.
Kovi Rose is a final year physics undergraduate at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is a research assistant, in the Racah Institute of Physics, on an observational astrophysics team that uses radio telescopes to study core-collapse supernovae. In order to create a more extensive catalogue of supernovae and other bright radio sources, the team monitors the discoveries and classifications of low redshift astronomical transients, conducting follow-up observations and analyses of the radio emissions coming from these stellar objects.
Having noticed the increasing trend of anti-intellectualism and science denial, Kovi developed a passion for science communication and outreach. After the creation of @funfactscience, a Facebook/Twitter/Instagram science communication platform, Kovi has worked with an international team science communicators and educators on a number outreach campaigns; centered around topics like women in STEM and astronomy.
Outside of his online efforts, Kovi works for the Ramon Foundation in a project-based learning program which culminates in the launch of an experiment to the International Space Station. In his remaining free time Kovi volunteers with the HORIZON space educators community as well as SpaceIL, the privately funded Israeli nonprofit set to land a spacecraft on the Moon in February 2019.
JJ Eldridge (@astro_jje) is a theoretical astrophysics who studied for their PhD at the University of Cambridge in the UK. Then worked as a post-doc in Paris, Belfast and then returned to Cambridge. In 2011 they became a lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand.
Their research interest involve stars (especially binaries!), galaxies, supernovae and study these across the Universe, from our own Sun to those at the edge of the observable Universe. They are co-PI on the Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) code that was created to facilitate their research.
JJ is a passionate and effective teacher all levels of undergraduate and postgraduate study. They also work to increase how equitable and inclusivity of academia.
They are also a hoopy frood who loves science fiction in all forms (books, TV series, movies and computer games) and they also always know where their towel is.
This week’s Astrotweeps host is Gautham Narayan (@gsnarayan, http://www.noao.edu/noao/staff/narayan/). Gautham is an astrophysicist who likes stuff that blows up – explosive transients – particularly supernovae! He moved to the US in 2001 and got his BS in Physics at Illinois Wesleyan, where he worked with Prof. Linda French (@ispahan1) working on Jovian Trojans and Damocloids. From there he moved to grad school at Harvard University where he worked with Prof. Christopher Stubbs and Prof. Robert Kirshner. He got his PhD in Physics using type Ia supernovae from the ESSENCE and Pan-STARRS surveys to study the accelerating rate of expansion of the Universe, and the equation of state of the dark energy, w.
He began his post-doctoral career at the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (www.noao.edu) in Tucson, AZ, where he used the Hubble Space Telescope to establish a set of faint DA White Dwarfs as spectrophotometric standards for LSST and future surveys to address the largest source of systematic bias with SNIa cosmology surveys. These days, he works with the Computer Science department at University of Arizona on the ANTARES (Arizona-NOAO Transient Alert and Response to Events System) project, using machine learning techniques to characterize transients using their light curves, and identify the rarest, most interesting objects. He also works on education and outreach with the NOAO EPO office, and organizes Astronomy on Tap in Tucson (@space_drafts).
When he’s not sciencing, he’s hanging out with friends and his dog, Kepler, wandering town & listening to local musical acts, working on his photography (http://flickr.com/photos/gnarayan), hiking, and he’s known to get passionate about politics and equity in astronomy and society.
This week features Jennifer Hoffman. Jennifer is an associate professor of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Denver. However, she is on sabbatical from DU and is currently visiting the University of Wisconsin, where she received her Ph.D. Jennifer studies evolved massive stars and supernovae, with particular interests in binary interactions and circumstellar material. She uses observational spectropolarimetry and computational modeling to discover connections between core-collapse supernova explosions and their massive progenitor stars.
Now that she has tenure, Jennifer is also reviving longstanding interests in science education, public outreach, and diversifying the STEM community. She is still a relative Twitter newbie, but suspects that it can be a powerful tool for all of these purposes (and science too!). She normally tweets at @astroprofhoff, and her website is www.grammai.org/jhoffman/.
This week features Branden Allen, a staff astronomer at the Harvard College Observatory, part of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Branden’s research has primarily been focused on the development and deployment of next generation X/γ-Ray wide field monitors with the goal of detecting and characterizing a wide range of
high energy phenomena such as Gamma-Ray Bursts (GRBs) and Supernova. He began his career as graduate student at the University of California, Irvine with the Milagro project (a water Cherenkov all sky TeV γ-ray monitor) and, after graduating in 2007, moved to the CfA joining the ProtoEXIST collaboration which has successfully launched two next generation CdZnTe (CZT) hard X-ray telescopes in two balloon payloads in 2009 and 2012.
In a strange twist of fate he has recently joined the science team of the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and has become engaged in the study of near earth objects (NEOs). Here he has been active in the development of the REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS), a joint Harvard-MIT effort which is the student instrument for
OSIRIS-REx that will characterize the elemental composition of the surface of the asteroid 101955 Bennu. OSIRIS-REx is slated for launch in September of 2016, will reach Bennu in 2018, and return a sample to Earth in 2023.
You can find Branden the rest of the year on Twitter at @fermi_lives