Observational Cosmology Laboratory (665) Local News Archive

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Poster Blowout 2018

Note from the Director:
I would like to thank the Director’s Science Committee for putting on an amazingly successful event where scientists and engineers across Goddard shared their work and made new contacts. The interdisciplinary interactions were especially exciting and crossed all four science disciplines.

Click the title of this news item or the image below for more images from the poster party. scientists standing in front of a poster

Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics

Congratulations to Charles Bennett, Gary Hinshaw, Norman Jarosik, Lyman Page Jr., David Spergel and the WMAP Science Team for winning the 2018 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics on Dec. 3! The citation reads: “For detailed maps of the early universe that greatly improved our knowledge of the evolution of the cosmos and the fluctuations that seeded the formation of galaxies.” The Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics was founded in 2012 by Yuri Milner to recognize those individuals who have made profound contributions to human knowledge. The team also includes:

Chris Barnes, Olivier Doré, Joanna Dunkley, Ben Gold, Michael Greason, Mark Halpern, Robert Hill, Al Kogut, Eiichiro Komatsu, David Larson, Michele Limon, Stephan Meyer, Michael Nolta, Nils Odegard, Hiranya Peiris, Kendrick Smith, Greg Tucker, Licia Verde, Janet Weiland, Ed Wollack, and Ned Wright

Congratulations to the many ASD members who were involved in the exciting gravitational wave and electromagnetic counterpart discovery of merging neutron stars, and the subsequent media activity around the discovery!


Scott Barthelmy - Gamma-ray Coordinates Network system
Eric Burns - Fermi gamma ray burst study
Jordan Camp – GSFC LIGO Scientific Collaboration (LSC) PI
Brad Cenko - Swift PI
Tito Dal Canton - Gravitational wave localization maps; Virgo, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Amy Lien - Swift follow up study
Julie McEnery - Fermi Project Scientist
Frank Marshall - Swift follow up study
Judy Racusin - Fermi gamma ray burst study, Swift follow-up study
Leo Singer - Gravitational wave localization maps, GROWTH follow-up study, joint LIGO/Virgo-Fermi-GBM study
Eleonora Troja - Chandra & HST follow-up, Swift follow-up study

Communications Team:

Elizabeth Ferrara - Fermi social media
Barb Mattson - Traditional & social media coordination
Sara Mitchell - Social media coordination & content creation
Brian Monroe - Animator
Frank Reddy - Cross-organizational coordination & writer for nasa.gov press release
Claire Saravia - Live shots
Amber Straughn - ASD Associate Director
Dewayne Washington - HQ/GSFC coordination
Scott Wiessinger - Video & multimedia
Amber Straughn

Congratulations to the Astrophysics Science Division scientists who are PIs and Co-Is on the recently announced Astrophysics Missions of Opportunity and Medium-Class Explorer missions!

  • ISS-TAO (Transient Astrophysics Observer on the ISS), a Mission of Opportunity proposal submitted to the 2016 Explorer opportunity, was selected for a Phase A study. ISS-TAO team members include PI Jordan Camp (663), Scott Barthelmy (661), Rob Petre (662), Judy Racusin (661), Brad Cenko (661), Frank Marshall (661), Jeremy Schnittman (663), Andy Ptak (662), and Amy Lien (661), Leo Singer (661), and Tod Strohmeyer (662). ISS-TAO is a wide-field X-ray transient detector aboard the International Space Station that would observe numerous events per year of X-ray transients related to compact objects. The mission’s primary goal is the detection of X-ray counterparts to gravitational waves produced by neutron stars merging with black holes and other neutron stars. Other targets would be supernova shocks, neutron star bursts, and high redshift gamma-ray bursts.
  • Rob Petre (662), Andy Ptak (662), Alan Smale (660), and Lynne Valencic (662) are co-Is on Arcus (PI Randall Smith, SAO), selected as a concept study for a Medium-Class Explorer mission. Arcus would study stars, galaxies and clusters of galaxies using high-resolution X-ray spectroscopy to characterize the interactions between these objects and the diffuse million-degrees gas that surrounds and permeates them.
  • Alan Smale (660) and Terri Brandt (661) are collaborators on COSI-X (PI Steve Boggs/UCB), selected as a concept study for an Explorer Mission of Opportunity. COSI-X is a balloon-borne, wide-field-of-view telescope designed to survey the gamma-ray sky at 0.2-5 MeV, performing high-resolution spectroscopy, wide-field imaging, and polarization measurements. COSI-X would map gamma-rays from antimatter around the Milky Way's center, as well as from newly-formed radioactive elements in the debris of stellar explosions.
The NASA press release announcing the selections is here: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-proposals-to-study-galaxies-stars-planets

Goddard Center Director Remarks on Passing of Neil Gehrels

"Our center has lost a dear friend and astronomy pioneer, and his spirit will always live on in our work, said Goddard Center Director Chris Scolese. "Those of us who were fortunate to work with Neil know of his unwavering enthusiasm for science and unselfish generosity in mentoring others."

Neil Gehrels Awarded $1M 2017 Dan David Prize

Neil Gehrels was posthumously awarded the $1 million 2017 Dan David Prize for "being the principal investigator of NASA's Swift Gamma Ray Burst Mission, which has transformed our view of the transient and variable sky in gamma-rays and in X-rays." Neil is one of three laureates announced this year in the field of astronomy. The Dan David Prize is headquartered at Tel Aviv University.

2017 Rossi Prize: Gabriela González and LIGO Scientific Collaboration

The 2017 Rossi Prize has been awarded to Gabriela González at Louisiana State University and the LIGO Scientific Collaboration for "the first direct detections of gravitational waves, for the discovery of merging black hole binaries, and beginning the new era of gravitational-wave astronomy." The collaboration includes more than 1,000 scientists from more than 90 institutions around the world. ASD members are:

Scott Barthlemy
Jordan Camp
John Cannizzo
Tito Dal Canton
Neil Gehrels
Leo Singer

Congratulations to the HIRMES Team

Congratulations to the High Resolution Mid-InfrarEd Spectrometer (HIRMES) team on the selection of their instrument for SOFIA.

Science Jamboree event photos

The 2016 Science Jamboree was a great success! A collection of 50 photos from the event are available now.

Mark Clampin Named Director of the Astrophysics Science Division

Please welcome Mark Clampin into the key leadership position of Director of the Astrophysics Science Division. Mark came to Goddard in 2003 from the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). Mark has been serving as the James Webb Space Telescope Observatory (JWST) Project Scientist at Goddard since 2003, providing science oversight of the Observatory's design through the initial phases of integration. From 2012 to 2014 he also served as the Chief Technologist of the Cosmic Origins and Physics of the Cosmos Program Offices. During the last year, he participated in the development of the Advanced Large Aperture Space Telescope (ATLAST) concept as a Senior Scientist. Mark assumes this position with a broad range of experience covering the scientific, technical and programmatic breadth of the division’s responsibilities. We are delighted he is accepting this new challenge and we look forward to working with him as he leads the outstanding team here in the Astrophysics Science Division.

Goddard View

Read about making room for Webb's mirrors and decoding the rhythm of an unusual black hole with RXTE in Volume 10, issue 11 of the Goddard View.

Goddard View

Read about revolutionary microshutter technology originally created for JWST, measuring gravitational waves with ELISA, and learning to fly with Dr. Amber Straughn, in Volume 10, Issue 10 of the Goddard View.

Cutting Edge

Volume 10, Issue 4 (Summer 2014) of the Cutting Edge includes a tribute to one of the center's most prolific principal investigators, Bruce Woodgate, as well as features on the James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble.

2014 Agency Honor Award Recipients

Please congratulate the 2014 Agency Honor Award recipients.

Outstanding Leadership Medal
Julie McEnery/661
Citation: For outstanding leadership of NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Observatory

Exceptional Achievement Medal
Matthew Greenhouse/665
Citation: For excellence achieved as Project Scientist to advance science technology and development for the James Webb Space Telescope instrument team.

Exceptional Technology Achievement Medal
Simon Bandler/662
Citation: For exceptional technology contribution in the development of X-ray quantum calorimeters with unprecedented energy resolution for future space astrophysics.

Group Achievement Awards

The Astro-H Soft X-Ray Telescope Team/Peter Serlemitsos/662 (POC)
ASD Team Members: Takashi Okajima (662), Lawrence G. Olsen (660.3)
Citation: For the development and timely delivery of the Astro-H Soft X-ray Telescopes, with performance exceeding mission goals.

Astro-H Soft X-Ray Spectrometer Instrument Team/Gary Sneiderman/592
ASD Team Members: Norman Dobson (660.3), Megan Eckart (662), Richard Kelley (662), Caroline Kilbourne (662), Frederick Scott Porter (662)
Citation: For the successful completion of the Astro-H Soft X-Ray Spectrometer Flight Hardware

Goddard View

The "heart" of the James Webb Space Telescope is ready to start a four-months long test to simulate the exceptionally cold temperatures in space. Read more in Volume 10, Issue 7 of the Goddard View.

Congratulations to Neil Gehrels, Al Kogut, and Ed Wollack!

Thompson Reuters just announced their 2014 list of most cited scientists, and Neil Gehrels, Al Kogut and Ed Wollack are in the list! In the "space science" category, they are the only scientists in all of NASA so awarded. You can browse the entire list at highlycited.com/index.htm. Search on NASA or other institutions to refine the list.

Senior Review Results

Congratulations to everyone who worked hard on the Senior Review proposals, and during the preceding 2 years to deliver great science results from our missions.

Goddard View

If all goes according to plan, a balloon the size of a football field will loft NASA's BETTII mission above 99.5 percent of the Earth's atmosphere next year to study star formation. Read more in Volume 10, Issue 5 of the Goddard View.

Goddard View

The last piece of the James Webb Space Telescope's heart was installed inside the world's largest clean room. Read about it in the latest issue of the Goddard View. (Volume 10, Issue 14)

2013 Robert H. Goddard Awards for ASD

Science (Individual and Team Recognition) Elizabeth Hays (661), Aki Roberge (667), Charles Bowers (667)
Diversity and Equal Employment Opportunity (Individual and Team Recognition John Baker (663), Jane Rigby (665)
Mentoring (Individual and Team Recognition) The Balloon Experimental Twin Telescope for Infrared Interferometry (BETTII) Team - Stephen Rinehart (665)
Outreach (Individual and Team Recognition) Amber Straughn (665)
Robert H. Goddard Award of Merit (Individual Only) Alice Harding (663)

Goddard View

Reflecting on Webb's Progress - As the James Webb Space Telescope scientists and engineers continue to move forward with the observatory’s pre-launch testing and assembly, the NASA community is excited to see the outstanding work accomplished so far. (Volume 10, Issue 1)

Goddard View

New video reveals NASA's Webb Telescope is "all sewn up." Read about it in Volume 9, Issue 17 of the Goddard View.

Astrophysicist by Day, Farmer by Night

Astrophysicist Bernie Rauscher (665) explains what it takes to be a good scientist.

Goddard View

A car-sized model of the James Webb Space Telescope unfolded at GSFC on August 21, 2013. Read about in Volume 9, Issue 14 of the Goddard View.

Matt Greenhouse featured in "People at Goddard"

James Webb Space Telescope Project Scientist Matt Greenhouse lives by the phrase “always put the mission first.” Matt is featured in the latest "People at Goddard."
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