Toward the Next Breakthroughs in Time-Domain Astronomy: The Origins of Fast Radio Bursts

Project: Research project

Project Details


Astronomical surveys which repeatedly image the sky have revealed that our universe is full of cosmic transients, or sources that change in brightness over time. As a Cottrell Scholar, I will identify the origins of a mysterious and prolific class of intense, millisecond transients: Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs). Taking advantage of newly-commissioned FRB experiments that provide new discoveries, I will probe novel regimes on the electromagnetic spectrum to cross-correlate all known FRBs with historical transients at other wavelengths on a wide range of timescales. I will navigate the growing, complex web of heterogeneous, time-varying data to unearth connections between FRBs and complementary signals, with the goal of providing significant breakthroughs to their origins. I will apply these tools to real-time FRB discoveries and to transient discoveries by next-generation surveys. My program concurrently advances methods in astrophysics, time-series analysis, and data science. Motivated by the fast-paced, competitive field of time-domain astronomy, and the transformative social justice movement in our community, I will develop educational programming to cultivate that crucial “sense of belonging” in higher education, that research has shown to be so paramount to the persistence of female and under-represented minority groups in physics and STEM at large. In partnership with researchers in education and diversity, I will develop and teach an innovative and sustainable undergraduate course to recognize and discuss the contributions of women and astronomers of color to major astronomical discoveries in history. I will also make Northwestern a hub of the American Physical Society’s Conference for Undergraduate Women in Physics, providing a further avenue for talented, but underserved, f-URM students to matriculate to graduate school.
Effective start/end date7/1/226/30/25


  • Research Corporation (28284)


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