Frank Winkler (Emeritus Professor, Physics) has been awarded funding from the NASA-funded Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) for his role in a collaborative research project titled What Makes Radio-detected and Optically-detected Supernova Remnants in NGC6946 Different? The project, carried out in collaboration with colleagues from STScI, Johns Hopkins University, and Hofstra University, will use new observations from the Hubble Space Telescope, in conjunction with existing data from Hubble, from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, from optical telescopes at Kitt Peak in Arizona and Mauna Kea in Hawaii, and from the Jansky Very Large Array radio telescope in New Mexico. The study will focus on understanding the remnants of exploded stars in the “Fireworks Galaxy,” so named because it has produced more supernovae (9) in the past century than any other known galaxy. The researchers hope that their work will shed new light on the cycle through which stars are born, live, die spectacularly as supernovae, and disperse matter that will eventually become the raw material for new stars.
Michelle McCauley (Psychology) has received funding from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad for her 2017-18 leave . She will be teaching one course, Environmental Problems and Human Behavior, and conducting research on understanding the psychological corollaries of environmental behavior. The award covers a stipend as well as housing and round trip travel.
Eilat Glikman (Physics) has been awarded a grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, to lead a research project titled Testing the Triggering Mechanism for Luminous, Radio-Quiet Red Quasars in the Clearing Phase: A Comparison to Radio-Loud Red Quasars. This three year project, involving collaborators from Yale University, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the University of California San Diego, and the Leibniz Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam, Germany, is based on observations of radio-quiet dust-reddened quasars and involves a study of the relationship between radio emission and host galaxy morphology. Evidence for mergers would support a picture in which luminous quasars and galaxies co-evolve independent of their radio properties; whereas the absence of mergers would link radio emission to mergers and require an alternate explanation for the extreme properties of these radio-quiet dust-reddened quasars. If mergers do not dominate the evolution of radio-quiet quasars, then a new paradigm for black hole and galaxy growth will need to be established.
Carlos Vélez‐Blasini (Psychology) has received a grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. The grant provides support for a study of the relationship between use of social networking sites, normative beliefs about sex, and relationship quality variables in US adults in and out of stable relationships. The work will provide insights into the impact of social networking on human behaviors and on social norms that can influence these behaviors, as well as help increase understanding of the relationship between use of social networking sites and well-being. Two Middlebury undergraduates will be working with Carlos on this project.
Will Amidon, Ray Coish, and Pete Ryan (all Geology) have received support from the National Science Foundation for the purchase of a laser to accompany the department’s existing inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS) instrument. This new instrumentation will give Middlebury College the ability to analyze isotope ratios and trace element concentrations of virtually all mineral phases, not just dissolved solutions, using laser ablation. Projects to be enabled by the new instrument include better understanding the tectonic evolution of the eastern U.S. and quantifying the sources of radionuclides in shallow aquifers.
Middlebury College Observatory and Middlebury Physics will again host stargazing open house nights this autumn. These Observatory events are scheduled for Friday evenings, September 16 and September 30, from 8:00 PM until 9:30 PM and are weather permitting.
Saturn and Mars will be in the evening sky on these dates. A variety of interesting stars, star clusters, and nebulae will also be visible through the Observatory’s telescopes. The Observatory includes a 24-inch telescope in a dome and smaller telescopes on the roof.
Observatory open house nights are free and open to the public. However, they will take place only if the sky is expected to be mostly clear. Please check the Observatory web site at go/observatory or call the Observatory at 443-2266 after 6 PM on the evening of the event for weather status.
Clarissa Parker (Psychology and Neuroscience) has been awarded a research grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse through NIH’s R15 AREA program. The grant provides three years of funding to support a project titled Genome-Wide Association for Affective Withdrawal in Outbred Mice. The goal of this work is to use a highly recombinant mouse population to map genes in mice associated with the behavioral and physiological traits that characterize drug withdrawal. A better understanding of the pathways linking genetic variation and expression to neuronal function and behavior in mice will provide novel insights that can inform the prevention and treatment of drug use disorders in humans. The grant includes support for 6 undergraduate students.