Physics undergrads use radio waves to search for elusive gravitational waves
New Einstein@Home effort launched: thousands of home computers to search Arecibo data for new radio pulsars
Astronomy Club Resumes for the Spring Semester
Astronomy Club April 2011 Picture
Pulsar Candidates Viewed at UWM.
The UWM Astronomy Club consists of a diverse group of people who are interested in cutting edge research in the fields of radio astronomy, gravitational wave physics, and cosmology. Participants include faculty members, post-docs, and students at the graduate, undergraduate, high school, and junior high levels, as well as teachers, and UWM staff.
Our participants work closely with a similar group of students and teachers from the University of Texas, Brownsville (UTB), where the Arecibo Remote Command Center (ARCC) was founded. Xavier Siemens, David Kaplan (faculty), and Jean Creighton (planetarium director) are leading the ARCC@UWM effort.
Our participants are using the Arecibo radio telescope to search for new pulsars and analyze the data collected during these observing sessions. In the observing sessions, we remotely control the world’s largest radio telescope from the UWM physics building. We work with the operators at Arecibo and the University of Texas Brownsville via video teleconferencing during our joint observation sessions. This collaboration has benefited both faculty and students alike.
We also offer more specialized projects, including the development of a data analysis pipelines to improve data quality. There are some additional projects dealing with the development and implementation of gravitational wave detection methods in pulsar timing as well.
Meetings take place every Monday evening in the Physics building. The meetings usually begin with a brief (roughly thirty minutes) talk by one of our participants or a guest speaker on research topics or current physics/astonomy news. Topics include pulsars, stellar evolution, cosmology, relativity, and gravitational waves. After the talk a discussion about further research/news items will take place as well as planning for future meeting topics.
The ARCC program at UWM is an exciting opportunity for UWM and its students and teachers to develop a more intimate connection with the Milwaukee community by encouraging the participation of local high school students and increasing public awareness of new frontiers in physics and astronomy. We hope that our enthusiastic attitude about this project will increase the number of students pursuing careers in science, engineering, technology, and mathematics in southeast Wisconsin.