Katherine Wyman MA ’11 was one of only six graduate students nationwide to receive a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award medal for her poster at the recent 220th meeting of the American Astronomical Society. The awards recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students who present at one of the poster sessions at the meetings of the AAS.
Wyman’s poster was on the work she did for her master’s thesis with her advisor, Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy. It involved characterizing the gas and dust that the Sun may have passed through over the last tens of millions of years and then constructing a plausible record of the size of the heliosphere over this time scale. The extent of the heliosphere could have consequences for many earthly processes such as atmospheric chemistry, cloud cover, and mutation rates for surface organisms. Redfield notes that he and Wyman are about to submit a paper on this and are planning to write a second one.
The judging process includes not only a critique of the poster, but one-on-one question sessions with reviewers.
Currently, Wyman is employed at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.