Regina M Caputo

Regina M Caputo

  • Research AST, Fields and Particles
  • 301.286.0072
  • NASA/GSFC
  • Mail Code: 661
  • Greenbelt , MD 20771
  • Employer: NASA
  • Brief Bio

    Originally from the southern Colorado town of Pueblo, I attended the Colorado School of Mines and graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in Engineering Physics and minor in Math/Computer Science.

    I received my Ph. D. from Stony Brook University in 2011 in particle physics using data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

    After graduating, I joined the ATLAS group at the Universität Mainz as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on numerous data analyses, detector operations and upgrades. In 2014, I moved to the University of California Santa Cruz where I joined the Fermi-LAT collaboration. Thus started my work in the exciting world of gamma-ray astrophysics!

    I became a research scientist at the University of Maryland working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2017 and in 2018 I was hired as a Civil Servant Scientist at GSFC.

    I'm interested in dark matter searches, searches for new physics and all the astrophysics one must understand before discovering something new. 

    I am currently the PI of AstroPix: Silicon Pixel detectors in space and AMEGO-X; the Swift Observatory Project scientist and the ComPair balloon project manager. 

    Research Interests

    Particle Astrophysics

    My research interests lie in understanding the particle nature of the universe, including the major component of matter: Dark matter. 

    I've searched WIMP dark matter with the direct detection CDMS experiment, the collider-based ATLAS experiment, and most recently the gamma-ray detecting Fermi-LAT. 

    Joining the Fermi-LAT Collaboration has also opened up the opportunity to study different areas of particle astrophysics, such as active galactic nuclei, pulsars and gamma-ray bursts. 

    Next Generation gamma-ray instruments

    Developing new technologies for future gamma-ray instruments

    Current Projects

    Gamma-ray Missions

    Fermi Large Area Telescope

    Swift

    BurstCube

    ComPair (Balloon prototype for AMEGO)

    AMEGO: All-sky Medium Energy Gamma-ray Observatory

    AMEGO-X: All-sky Medium Energy Gamma-ray Observatory eXplorer

     

    Positions/Employment

    9/2018 - Present

    Research Astrophysicist

    NASA, GSFC
    1/2017 - 9/2018

    Visiting Assistant Research Faculty

    University of Maryland, College Park, NASA/GSFC
    5/2014 - 1/2017

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    University of California, Santa Cruz, UCSC
    10/2011 - 5/2014

    Postdoctoral Research Scientist

    Universität Mainz, Universität Mainz

    Education

    • Ph. D. Experimental Particle Physics, 2011
      Stony Brook University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Stony Brook, NY
    • B.S. Engineering Physics, 2006
      Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

    Professional Service

    PANELS

    • NASA Astrophysics Guest Investigator Review, (panelist and chair)
    • NSF Review panelist

    PROFESSIONAL SERVICE

    • Swift Observatory Project Scientist: October 2019 – present
    • Project Manager, ComPair balloon: July 2019 – present
    • Analysis Coordinator, Fermi–LAT Collaboration: March 2017 – March 2019
    • Si-Tracker Subsystem and Simulation Co-Coordinator, AMEGO and ComPair Team: October 2015 – present
    • Calibration and Analysis Science Coordinator, Fermi–LAT Collaboration: September 2015 – April 2017
    • SCIPP Seminar Organizing Committee, UCSC: September 2014 – July 2016
    • Local Organizing Committee Member for the Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWiP), UCSC: January 2015
    • Trigger Menu Coordination Group, ATLAS Collaboration: July 2013 – May 2014
    • Level-1 Trigger On-Call Trigger Expert, ATLAS Collaboration: January 2012 – May 2013

     

    Awards

    Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellow (2018)

    Grants

    12/01/2019 - 12/01/2022 Silicon pixel detectors for gamma-ray astrophysics: AstroPix, Astrophysics Research and Analysis (APRA)
    Principal investigator
    10/01/2015 A Conclusive View on Pair Halo Detection and the Inferred Intergalactic Magnetic Field Constraints, Fermi Guest Investigator Cycle 8 Grant
    Principle Investigator
    Grant Amount: $52,000
    09/01/2017 Proving the TBL with Pair-Halo Fermi Data, Fermi Guest Investigator Cycle 10 Grant
    Co-Investigator
    Grant Amount: $50,000
    09/01/2019 Detecting gamma-ray Halos around PWNE and Interpretation of the positron excess, Fermi Guest Investigator Cycle 12 Grant
    Co-Investigator
    Grant Amount: $50,000

    Talks, Presentations and Posters

    Invited

    Library of Congress talk: Cosmic Explosions and Cosmic Accelerators (YouTube)

    8 / 8 / 2019

    Gamma-ray astronomy is the science of the extremes.The summer of 2017 ushered in the era of multimessenger astrophysics and the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has been at the forefront. We can now observe the universe not only with light, but also with gravitational waves and particles. When two stars made of the densest material in the universe smashed together, Fermi observed a burst of gamma rays. At the same time, the gravitational wave from this explosion was observed with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO), setting off a campaign by nearly every telescope in the world to observe the resulting event. Within a few months of this discovery, Fermi also observed a distant galaxy accelerating particles to extreme energies resulting in more gamma rays than it had ever produced before. During this time, the IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory detected a high energy neutrino telling us about the fundamental components of the accelerated particles. These messengers observed jointly with the gamma-rays from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have revolutionized our understanding of the extreme universe. 


    NSF Press Conference on Breakthrough in Multi-messenger Astrophysics (YouTube)

    7 / 12 / 2018

    An announcement of recent multi-messenger astrophysics findings led by the National Science Foundation’s IceCube Neutrino Observatory at the South Pole. Hosted by NSF Director France Córdova, the briefing features leading astrophysicists from across the globe explaining how they tracked a neutrino back to its original source -- a galaxy four billion light years from Earth.

    Selected Public Outreach

    NASA's Curious Universe: Inside a Black Hole 11 / 2020 - Present
    https://www.nasa.gov/mediacast/inside-a-black-hole

    Introducing NASA’s Curious Universe 

    Our universe is a wild and wonderful place. Join NASA astronauts, scientists, and engineers on a new adventure each week — all you need is your curiosity. Visit our space laboratory, meet the slow-moving crawlers that transport rockets to the launch pad, and dive into faraway galaxies where black holes form. First-time space explorers welcome. 

    About the Episode 

    Don't let the name fool you: a black hole is anything but empty space. Black holes are some of the most extreme, bizarre and fascinating objects in the universe. Regina Caputo and Jeremy Schnittman describe what it might be like to go hunting for one.

    A Day in the Life of a NASA Satellite Team 4 / 2020 - Present
    https://youtu.be/y1G5xZv5DVw

    Launched on Nov. 20, 2004, NASA's Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory has been on the hunt to uncover the mystery of the universe’s most powerful explosions: gamma-ray bursts. These extreme events are some of the farthest objects we’ve ever detected and are associated with some of the most dramatic events in our cosmos, like the collapse of massive stars or the mergers of two neutron stars. In celebration of fifteen years of excellent science, join a Swift team member for a day in the life of the Swift satellite.

    5 Things: Black Holes 11 / 2019 - Present
    https://youtu.be/26ilf0jO_ZM

    Black holes are one of the most mysterious objects in the universe. ? Here are five things to know!

    NASA Science Live: Galaxy of Horrors 10 / 2019 - Present
    https://youtu.be/OPa1gt0lJ3U

    This Halloween, we’re taking you on a journey to the darkest corners of our universe – where invisible forces draw galaxies together, and dark energy rips them apart. We’ll travel to worlds with unimaginable conditions and hear sounds that float eerily through the emptiness of space. Stop, listen, look up and join us for a tour of our Galaxy of Horrors!

    Instagram Live 4 / 2021 - Present
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1V158Oj7OCcIMi0-NyGHu4qGrdhNqY1sF/view

    Instagram Live! with @thephysicsgirl, Dianna Cowern

    Brief Bio

    Originally from the southern Colorado town of Pueblo, I attended the Colorado School of Mines and graduated in 2006 with a B.S. in Engineering Physics and minor in Math/Computer Science.

    I received my Ph. D. from Stony Brook University in 2011 in particle physics using data from the ATLAS experiment at CERN.

    After graduating, I joined the ATLAS group at the Universität Mainz as a Postdoctoral Researcher working on numerous data analyses, detector operations and upgrades. In 2014, I moved to the University of California Santa Cruz where I joined the Fermi-LAT collaboration. Thus started my work in the exciting world of gamma-ray astrophysics!

    I became a research scientist at the University of Maryland working at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2017 and in 2018 I was hired as a Civil Servant Scientist at GSFC.

    I'm interested in dark matter searches, searches for new physics and all the astrophysics one must understand before discovering something new. 

    I am currently the PI of AstroPix: Silicon Pixel detectors in space and AMEGO-X; the Swift Observatory Project scientist and the ComPair balloon project manager. 

                                                                                                                                                                                            
    NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration