Dr. Key is one of a distinguished ensemble of scientists attending the Kavli Summer Program in Astrophysics as a senior participant in Copenhagen this summer. The annual program is organized by UC Santa Cruz and “brings together scientists with a wide breadth of technical skills and research interests to solve topical outstanding problems in astrophysics,” according to the program’s website. This year the focus of the event is gravitational wave astronomy and its scientific ramifications, so we can expect a good amount of problem-solving and question-answering to take place before the conclusion of the program on August 18th. More information on KSPA and this year’s projects can be found here!
As of June 20th, the European Space Agency has officially selected LISA as the third large-class mission in its Science program.
LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is a trio of satellites painstakingly designed to detect gravitational waves from deep space. LISA utilizes the same basic technology as ground-based LIGO and other detectors, but from its position away from earthly noise contaminants LISA will allow us to “hear” farther into space than ever before.
The LISA Pathfinder mission, which served as a proof-of-concept for some of the advanced technologies that LISA itself will require, will shortly complete its mission, and not long afterwards preparations for LISA will begin in earnest. There’s a long road ahead, though – LISA is not expected to launch until 2034. Still, this is a major event for the field of gravitational wave astronomy. Only 17 years to go…
Josh Christensen and Holly Gummelt — both members of this year’s graduating class — have the distinction of being the first UW Bothell students to graduate with a major in Physics. Austen Harp and Duncan McKinnon (not pictured) graduated alongside them with one of the first Physics minors. The three of them are pictured here at their graduation ceremony. Congratulations to Josh, Holly, Austen, Duncan, and all the other graduates of the class of 2017!
The LIGO-Virgo collaboration announced today that a third gravitational wave signal (GW170104) was detected on January 4th, 2017, adding to the project’s two previous history-making discoveries of last year! This signal, like the two before it, was the result of a pair of black holes colliding and merging at a staggering distance of 3 billion light-years away. “LIGO is opening up a new way to explore our universe, including populations of elusive black holes,” Dr.Key said (as quoted in a news release from UW Bothell). “This is a significant discovery of a new black hole collision, adding to our map of black hole systems and utilizing the increased sensitivity of the LIGO detectors.”
This exciting discovery was officially announced to the world in a paper published in Physical Review Letters, which can be accessed here.
For more information on GW170104 and its implications for the future of astronomy, click here to view the official LIGO press release on the subject. For more on the GWA group’s involvement, click here for UW Bothell’s news release.
Jojo Perkins and Holly Gummelt have both been recognized as Student Leaders of the Year at UW Bothell! “Each year, the Student Leadership Awards recognize UW Bothell students who have made positive contributions to the campus and its surrounding communities,” according to the UW Bothell Division of Student Affairs. The recognition ceremony will be held June 2nd at 6pm, in Mobius Hall. More information about the award is available here. Congratulations to these two very deserving recipients!
JoJo and Katie have been awarded a scholarship from the NASA Space Grant Consortium to continue their work over the summer! The two will continue to pursue their current research projects analyzing and evaluating LIGO data and glitches. Click here to read more about the Consortium. Congratulations, you two!
Congratulations to Tyler, Holly, Connor, and Katie for their official induction into Sigma Pi Sigma, the Society of Physics Students’ honor society! They now comprise the inaugural chapter of the UW Bothell chapter of the organization. For more info on the ceremony and the organization, click here to read the official UWB news item.
As part of Pacific Science Center’s “Science in the City” lecture series, Dr. Key will be speaking about LIGO and gravitational wave astronomy in a special presentation at the Willard Smith Planetarium on the evening of May 10th! For anyone who doesn’t understand why we get really, really excited about weird little chirping sounds from deep space, this is your chance to learn more from our very own expert on the subject. Don’t miss out!
Shout-out to the brilliant Katie for earning one of only three Physical Sciences Division Chair’s Summer Undergraduate Research awards! She’ll be continuing her work on identifying and categorizing LIGO glitches with Dr. Key over the summer.
Congratulations on being awesome, and best of luck with your research!
Congratulations are in order for Holly, wise and witty staple of the GWA group, who’s been busy earning impressive distinctions left and right over the past few months. In addition to receiving a Founders Fellows Research Scholarship in February for her work with Dr. Key, she’s also been chosen as one of the 2017 Husky 100, a group of students from across the UW’s campuses recognized for their passion, dedication, and commitment to creating change in their communities.
Way to be, Holly! Remember us when you’re being handed some insanely cool NASA award! ;)