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Haverford College

Marian E. Koshland Integrated Natural Sciences Center

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Haverford Students Recognized by American Astronomical Society

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Andrew Sturner ’12 received the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award from the American Astronomical Society.
Andrew Sturner ’12 received the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award from the American Astronomical Society.

Andrew Sturner was one of five students from the Class of 2012 who had the opportunity to present their research at AAS Meetings this year.

Recent graduate Andrew Sturner ’12 was one of four U.S. students to receive the prestigious Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award at the 220th American Astronomical Society’s (AAS) meeting in Anchorage, Alaska, in June.

Sturner’s research, which was the subject of his senior thesis, examined the relationship between temperature changes in the sun’s outer atmosphere and solar flares, which are brief eruptions of high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface. He also examined the differences between solar flare images taken at extreme ultraviolet (EUV) wavelengths, which are less common, and those taken at X-ray wavelengths, which are studied frequently. Sturner was advised by Dr. Kelly Korreck, a member of the Solar and Stellar X-Ray Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. His work was also aided by Haverford Astronomy professor, Stephen Boughn.

Sturner, who graduated in May, will put down roots in Colorado. He will be entering a Ph.D. program in astrophysics at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “I’ve really enjoyed the richness of solar physics, but I first need to explore and experience other flavors of astronomy to know what I am truly passionate about,” says Sturner. In July he will begin work with Professor Robert Ergun, studying the Earth’s magnetic fields and space plasma.

The American Astronomical Society has also recognized several other Haverford astronomy students. Maya Barlev ’12 presented her work, which focused on discovering new dwarf galaxies, at the June AAS  meeting, along with Sturner. And earlier this year, Emily Cunningham ’12 received honorable mention for the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award at the AAS’s 219th meeting in January. Cunningham’s research, which began at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics during the summer of 2011, examined active galaxies, which are galaxies that have extremely bright black holes at their center. During the coming year, Cunningham will continue with her research at the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris on a Fulbright Scholarship. In the fall of 2013, she will enter a Ph.D. program in astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Erin Boettecher ’12 and Jacob Gilbert ’12 also had the opportunity to present their research as a part of the Chambliss competition at the January meeting. Boettecher’s research examined the development of the most effective model of brown dwarf atmospheres. Gilbert researched methods of observing the movement of exoplanets, which are planets that exist outside of our solar system.

Haverford students are able to take advantage of opportunities like traveling off-campus to share their work in professional settings thanks to the Green Fund and the generosity of Louis Green and his heirs.

—Erin Adaline Seglem ‘14

 

Read about more Fords who have won fellowships, scholarships or grants.