Lauren RubensteinDecember 10, 20184min
In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni. Recent Wesleyan News 1. Los Angeles Times: "As the World Warms, Deadly and Disfiguring Tropical Diseases Are Inching Their Way Toward the U.S." In this op-ed, Professor of Biology Frederick Cohan and Isaac Klimasmith '20, both in the College of the Environment, write that infectious disease is a growing threat, resulting from climate change, that humans may find hard to ignore. Cohan is also professor, environmental studies and professor, integrative sciences. 2. Hartford Courant: "Trump's Immoral Response to Climate Report" Gary Yohe, the…

Lauren RubensteinOctober 22, 20181min
On Oct. 15, Seth Redfield, associate professor and chair of astronomy, gave a lecture at the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences. He was invited to speak as part of the Benjamin Dean Astronomy Lecture series. The title of his talk was, "Exploring Our Galactic Neighborhood." The talk will be posted to the Academy's iTunes University site. Redfield is also associate professor, integrative sciences, and co-coordinator, planetary science.  

Olivia DrakeJuly 17, 20184min
The campus community now has the ability to tell time the way Egyptians did more than 3.500 years ago—by using light and shadows. A modern-day sundial, which mimics those used throughout history, now hangs on the south side of the Van Vleck Observatory’s 24-inch Perkin telescope. The six-foot-square structure is fabricated from 3/16-inch thick Muntz metal bronze with stainless steel reinforcing. "Campus doesn't have enough outside art," said Joyce Jacobsen, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. "A sundial is a perfect piece because it's not only aesthetically pleasing but it's functional too." Bill Herbst, John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of…

Olivia DrakeJuly 9, 20181min
In recognition of his exemplary research at Wesleyan, astronomy major Girish Duvvuri ’17 has been awarded a Chambliss medal from the American Astronomical Society (AAS). Duvvuri, who majored in astronomy, physics, and English, received the award during the 232nd AAS Meeting June 3–7 in Denver, Colo. There, he presented a study that formed much of his senior thesis at Wesleyan. Seth Redfield, associate professor and chair of astronomy, associate professor of integrative sciences, and co-coordinator of planetary science, served as Duvvuri's advisor. To be eligible for an award, work featured on a poster must have been done within the past year and while the presenter was an…

Olivia DrakeJune 28, 20181min
Three undergraduates and one graduate student received NASA Connecticut Space Grant Awards from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC). The CTSGC is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that aims to inspire the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronomy and math major Nicole Zalewski '20 received a $5,000 undergraduate research fellowship to pursue her study on “Measurement of the Radar Properties of the Oldest Rocks on Venus to Constrain Mineralogy." Her advisor is Martha Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, professor of earth and environmental sciences, co-coordinator of planetary science, and…

Bill HolderMay 23, 20182min
The Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), which operates the Hubble Space Telescope, the James Webb Space Telescope, the U.S. National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO), and other major astronomical research facilities in the United States, has elected the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium (KNAC)—led by Wesleyan University—as a new member. This historic development represents the first time that liberal arts institutions have been invited to join the association and serves as an important recognition of the value of such programs, not just to education, but also to frontier research in astronomy. “This is a tremendous recognition of the important…

Olivia DrakeMarch 27, 20183min
Faculty, graduate students, and alumni attended the 49th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference March 19–23 in The Woodlands, Texas. Three graduate students were awarded funds from the NASA Connecticut Space Grant that allowed them to travel to this meeting. Earth and environmental sciences graduate student Reid Perkins presented a research poster titled "Where Are the Missing Tessera Craters on Venus?" Perkins's advisor is Martha Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, professor of earth and environmental sciences. Earth and environmental sciences graduate student Melissa Luna presented a poster titled "Multivariate Spectral Analysis of CRISM Data to Characterize the Composition of Mawrth…

Lauren RubensteinFebruary 13, 20181min
Meredith Hughes, assistant professor of astronomy, assistant professor of integrative sciences, has been named a Cottrell Scholar for 2018 by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA). Hughes is one of two dozen early career academic scientists to receive this honor, which comes with a $100,000 award for research and teaching. “The Cottrell Scholar (CS) program champions the very best early career teacher-scholars in chemistry, physics and astronomy by providing these significant discretionary awards,” said RCSA President and CEO Daniel Linzer. (more…)

Lauren RubensteinOctober 17, 20172min
Writing in The Conversation, Roy Kilgard, research associate professor of astronomy, explains the significance of an exciting new discovery in astronomy. For the first time, astrophysicists have observed merging neutron stars using LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) and the Virgo interferometer. Kilgard writes: This news may confirm a longstanding theory: that some gamma-ray bursts (GRBs for short), which are among the most energetic, luminous events in the universe, are the result of merging neutron stars. And it is in the crucible of these mergers that most heavy elements may be forged. Researchers can’t produce anything like the temperatures or pressures of…

Randi Alexandra PlakeSeptember 18, 20172min
A team of scientists from Wesleyan, led by Associate Professor of Astronomy Seth Redfield and graduate student Prajwal Niraula MA '18, has co-authored a paper on the discovery of three planets, or super-Earths, transiting around a nearby star, just 98 light-years away. “Super-Earths are slightly larger than Earth, and the three of them straddle the divide between the rocky planets like Earth and ice giants like Neptune,” explains Redfield. These planets were found using the Kepler Space Telescope. “Kepler has found thousands of exoplanets these last eight years, but this is the closest planetary system that Kepler has ever found, although closer planetary systems have been…

Olivia DrakeAugust 21, 20171min
Wesleyan's Department of Astronomy hosted a public eclipse viewing on Aug. 21, outside the Van Vleck Observatory. Hundreds of Wesleyan and local community members attended this historic event. Although Middletown wasn't in the narrow path of totality, viewers still were able to witness about 65 percent of the sun disappear. In addition to telescopes and eclipse glasses for safely viewing the Sun, participants were encouraged to tour the Department of Astronomy's historical exhibition and see images from the 1925 solar eclipse that passed directly over Wesleyan. A live streaming feed of the eclipse also was shown in a classroom. (more…)