Spring 2024 Astro Colloquia series
Tuesdays 4pm – 5pm in Marlar Lounge #37-252/272
in-person & via zoom
Meeting ID: 948 5672 3074
Date Speaker Affiliation Presentation Title
02/06/2024 Henric Krawczynski Washington University of St.Louis Observations of compact objects with the IXPE
“I know Henric from our joint interest in X-ray emission from kpc scale quasar jets, about which he published a paper with the late Dan Harris on calculating the inverse Compton emission. We have common interest in X-ray polarimetry and Henric leads an instrumentation group that conductted a balloon experiment to measure hard X-rays (XL-Calibur). We’ve also worked on X-ray polarimetry observations of blazars and other sources using IXPE.” – Herman Marshall
02/14/2024 Michela Negro NASA-GSFC/UMBC Magnetars fireworks in the Time Domain and Multimessenger universe
“Michela & I met over many zoom meetings for the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) project. She has worked on data analysis methods for X-ray polarimetry. We have collaborated on several IXPE papers, including one she led on the extremely bright GRB 221009A.” – Herman Marshall
02/20/2024 Brad Cenko NASA-GSFC A census of relativistic explosions in the extragalactic sky
“Brad Cenko is a research astrophysicist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and adjunct assistant professor at the University of Maryland, College Park. He is currently the Principal Investigator for the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory mission. Brad’s research interests span the study of high energy transients ranging from gamma-ray bursts, electromagnetic counterparts to gravitational waves and neutrinos, and tidal disruption events.” – Kishalay De
02/27/2024 Ehud Behar Technion – Israel Institute of Technology The missing baryons of the universe probed with y-ray burst afterglows
“Ehud Behar from the Technion in Israel is visiting us on sabbatical this academic year, and will tell us about his work studying a wide range of astrophysical systems with high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy. It’s a particularly exciting time for Ehud and colleagues with the recent launch of the XRISM observatory!” – Erin Kara
03/05/2024 Katie Breivik Flatiron Institute Binary evolution: a multi-messenger, multi-band puzzle
“Katie’s work focuses on combining simulations of binary populations and data from electromagnetic surveys like Gaia and SDSS-V with gravitational wave observatories like LIGO and LISA to study binary star populations at different snapshots in their evolution and ultimately constrain the outcomes of binary star interactions.” – Salvatore Vitale
03/12/2024 Nestor Espinoza Space Telescope Science Institute Exoplanet atmospheres revealed: Insights from JWST observations
“Néstor is an Assistant Astronomer and Mission Scientist for Exoplanet Science at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. He is an expert in exoplanet discovery and atmospheric characterization of both terrestrial and gaseous planets and PI of multiple JWST Guest Observer (GO) Programs and a key contributor to many other GO and Guaranteed Time Observation (GTO) Programs. At STScI he also leads the JWST Time-Series Working Group and the Exoplanet Characterization Toolkit (ExoCTK) effort.” – Benjamin Rackham
03/19/2024 Richard Kelley NASA-GSFC Using extremely cold sensors to measure the hottest objects in the universe
“Rich Kelley is a NASA Civil Servant at Goddard Space Flight Center, and the US PI of the XRISM Observatory, set to launch in August 2023. We can’t wait for his talk, hopefully with some first exciting results from the mission!” – Erin Kara
04/02/2024 Francois Mernier NASA-GSFC Chemical enrichment: From stars to galaxy clusters
“My esteemed friend and colleague, Dr. François Mernier, is an X-ray astrophysicist at NASA GSFC as a support scientist for XRISM. His research focuses on the chemical enrichment of galaxy clusters to find out when, where, and how this enrichment occurs.” – Aysegul Tumer
04/09/2024 Andrew Wetzel University of California, Davis The cosmological formation of Milky Way-like galactic disks
“Andrew is a professor at UC Davis, who has built high-resolution Milky Way simulations as part of the FIRE collaboration. He has worked on improving resolution of simulation, and studying different aspects of the local universe comparing simulations to observations.” – Lina Necib
04/16/2024 Robyn Sanderson University of Pennsylvania Dynamical tests of dark matter and galaxy formation theories in the Milky Way and beyond
“Robyn Sanderson is an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a PI in the FIRE collaboration. Her research focuses on analyzing the local universe through Zoom-in cosmological simulations. She is also an MKI graduate. Some of her latest work involves setting up synthetic surveys based on simulations, which are heavily used in machine learning and more traditional analysis methods for testing and training.” – Lina Necib
04/23/2024 Risa Wechsler Stanford University Unveiling the nature of dark matter with small-scale cosmic structure
“Risa is a cosmologist at Stanford and the director of the Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology there. She is interested in anything dark — her group studies the nature of dark energy and dark matter and has been leading some of the recent ground-breaking efforts with the Dark Energy Survey Instrument (DESI).” – Christina Eilers
04/30/2024 Courtney Dressing University of California, Berkeley The Habitable Worlds Observatory
05/07/2024 Irene Shivaei Arizona University Unveiling dust beyond the local universe
05/14/2024 Jorge Moreno Pomona College The intriguing lives of galaxies lacking dark matter
“We’re excited to host Jorge Moreno, who is a professor at Pomona College and a computational astrophysicist working on galaxy evolution and structure formation. We hope to hear about his recent work, and talk with him about one of his other passions to build and foster a thriving, diverse, community of astrophysicists.” – Erin Kara



Fall 2023 Astro Colloquia series
Tuesdays 4pm – 5pm in Marlar Lounge #37-252/272
in-person & via zoom
Meeting ID: 948 5672 3074
Date Speaker Affiliation Presentation Title
09/12/2023 Alex Ji University of Chicago Dwarf Galaxy Archaeology in the Gaia Era
“Prof. Ji is a world expert in the field of galactic archaeology and is conducting ambitious campaigns revolutionizing our view of the Milky Way and its satellites.” – Rohan Naidu
09/19/2023 Abby Crites Cornell University Probing the Structure and Evolution of Our Universe with Line Intensity Mapping & mm-Wavelength Instruments
“Abby is an assistant professor at Cornell who works on observational astronomy and instrumentation. She is currently building the Tomographic Ionized Carbon Intensity Mapping Experiment (TIME), a millimeter wavelength spectrometer that will be used to study the epoch of reionization, and also works on CMB-S4. ” – Lina Necib
09/26/2023 Evdokiya Kostadinova Auburn University Laboratory Space Research
10/03/2023 Jo Bovy University of Toronto Machine learning and artificial intelligence in data-driven astrophysics
“Jo Bovy is the Canada Research Chair in Galactic Astrophysics at the University of Toronto. He is an expert in galaxy structure, formation, and evolution, with a particular focus on our own Milky Way. He is perhaps best known for his development of the popular open source galactic dynamics package galpy.” – Josh Borrow
10/17/2023 Richard Mushotzky University of Maryland Understanding the nature of host galaxies
“Richard is a Professor at the University of Maryland, and a world leader in X-ray astronomy, for which he was recently awarded the Russel Prize (a lifetime achievement award) from the American Astronomical Society. We look forward to him telling us about his work on the past, present, and future of X-ray studies of Active Galactic Nuclei.” – Erin Kara
10/24/2023 Cora Dvorkin Harvard University The Universe as a Lab for New Physics Across Cosmic Times
“Cora is a theoretical cosmologist at Harvard University, working on CMB, large scale structure and strong gravitational lensing. She is also a senior investigator at IAIFI and uses machine learning tools to answer cosmology questions.” – Lina Necib
10/31/2023 Bart Ripperda Princeton University How Black Holes Shine
“Bart is finishing up his Einstein Fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study, and will soon be starting a faculty position at CITA. He is an expert in plasma physics and magnetohydrodynamical simulations of black hole accretion flows. He is a member of the Event Horizon Telescope.” – Erin Kara
11/07/2023 Lia Corrales University of Michigan The cosmic journey of the elements, from dust to life
“Lia is an Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, an expert on the X-ray emission for young stars, and the effect on their exoplanet atmospheres. She is also an expert on using dust scattering haloes from bright X-ray binaries to trace the ISM in our galaxy.” – Erin Kara
11/14/2023 Shami Chatterjee Cornell University Opening a New Window on Low-Frequency Gravitational Waves with Galactic Pulsars
“Shami is a Research Professor at Cornell University who has done foundational work on pulsars, including his involvement in the search for gravitational waves using pulsar timing arrays. He is also known for his work on fast radio bursts, and led the first localization of an FRB to its host galaxy.” – Kiyoshi Masui
11/21/2023 Anna Ho Cornell University Finding Relativistic Stellar Explosions as Fast Optical Transients
“Anna Ho is an assistant professor of astronomy at Cornell university and an expert in fast optical transients, relativistic stellar explosions and their multi-wavelength follow-up. She led the characterization of transients identified with wide-field optical surveys in the mm-wavebands. Anna is the co-chair of the transients working group for the upcoming CMB-S4 survey.” – Kishalay De
11/28/2023 Jennifer Burt NASA Enhancing the science return of NASA’s exoplanet missions with ground-based radial velocities
“Jenn is a JPL Scientist working with the Exoplanet Exploration Program Office to support the development of extreme precision radial velocity (EPRV) science for extrasolar planet detection and characterization. She is pushing the boundaries of the EPRV field as it works towards detecting terrestrial planets in Earth-like orbits.” – Sarah Millholland
12/05/2023 Jess Werk University of Washington The Multi-scale, Multiphase Physics of the Circumgalactic Medium
“Jess is an Associate Professor and will soon also be the chair of the Astronomy Department at the University of Washington. She studies the circumgalactic medium of galaxies and aims to understand the cosmic baryon cycle within galactic ecosystems.” – Christina Eilers
12/12/2023 Sarah J Vigeland University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Searching for a Gravitational Wave Background with Pulsar Timing Arrays
“A 2012 MIT Astrophysics PhD student, Sarah Vigeland joined the faculty of the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee in 2019 where she now leads their efforts in the technique of pulsar timing for gravitational-wave detection. She played a very large role in the work which led to the recent announcement of evidence of a gravitational-wave background consistent with a population of merging supermassive binary black holes.” – Scott Hughes