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Fulbright Research Grant Sends Dylan Hatt '10 To Study With German Astronomers

Hatt will spend next year at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, exploring the properties of dwarf galaxies.

What constitutes a “dwarf galaxy”—a small galaxy composed of only a few stars? Dylan Hatt ’10 will spend next year helping scientists at the Max-Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany, seek answers to this question. Making this possible is his recently awarded Fulbright Research Grant.

Hatt, a double major in astronomy and physics, will assist the Institute’s astronomers in analyzing sky images where previously unknown dwarf galaxies may have been sighted. These dwarf galaxies are often small, faint and full of invisible “dark” matter, which makes them difficult to study. “By analyzing features such as stars’ individual colors, positions, motions and brightnesses, a comparison with theoretical models can reveal an astonishing amount of information about the star system,” says Hatt.

This won’t be Hatt’s first encounter with the Max-Planck Institute; he interned there last summer through the RISE (Research Internships in Science and Engineering) program sponsored by the German organization DAAD (in English, German Academic Exchange Service). In addition to participating in research, Hatt plans to attend Heidelberg’s seasonal events, such as the Christmas markets and the summer firework shows. He also hopes to travel throughout Europe.

“It’s an honor to be able to represent Haverford and the country in a research-oriented capacity—especially in Germany, which places a lot of importance on scientific research,” says Hatt. “I am very grateful for the academic preparation I’ve received over the years from the physics and astronomy faculty.” He also expresses gratitude for the help he’s received from his senior thesis advisor, Assistant Professor of Astronomy Beth Willman, and from Dean of Academic Affairs Phil Bean.

-Brenna McBride

Originally posted at: http://www.haverford.edu/news/stories/38741/23