A Partnership in Observational and Computational Astronomy

Year 2 Project Investigators

Donald Walter

As PI, Walter has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the project including oversight of the work by Co-PIs and others involved in the project. He worked with the SC State Office of Sponsored Programs, the Grants and Contracts office and the Financial Management division on all financial and reporting issues including the Clemson subaward. He was responsible for all SC State internal reporting and accounting requirements. He, with the help of the part-time administrative assistance, executed all procurement and related financial transactions. Walter was the main point of contact and responsible for communication among the partner institutions, Co-PIs, collaboratorsand students.Walter conducted faculty research on the spectroscopy of RV Tauri stars. He had two observing runs at KPNO on the Coude Feed Telescope. He took the lead in preparing and submitting a Cycle 2 Guest Observer proposal to the NASA Kepler Mission to study RV Tauri and Semi-Regular variables in the Kepler field of view.Walter made presentations on the POCA/PAARE project at several national and regional meetings including the 2009 Meeting of Astronomer sin South Carolina and the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. Additional dissemination duties included issuing press releases, giving talks in the local community and appearing on a South Carolina TV station to discuss the 2012 topic.He has worked with other members of the POCA team to carry out recruitment activities on the national and local level as described in detail in the Outreach section of this report.Walter served as mentor to two SC State summer 2009 Tier I (basic level) interns and worked with two SC State Tier II (experienced) interns once they returned from their summer research experiences at Clemson and NOAO.

Steven Howell

Dr. Howell is the Co-PI on this project from the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO). He has served as the mentor to the SC State faculty and students for research and a point of contact for access to KPNO facilities. Howell has worked with PI Walter and Co-PI Cash to develop short and long term plans to conduct collaborative research with him on RV Tauri stars. Dr. Howell served as a mentor during the summer of 2009 to an SC State Tier II (experienced) astronomy intern at NOAO. Their work waspresented at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He will also serve as a research mentor to one or two SC State summer 2010 interns.Howell is a major contributor to a research paper in preparation under the leadership of Co-PI Cash. Additionally, he provided significant input to a proposal for Kepler observing time submitted by Walter, Cash and Howell in January 2010. He also assisted in the initial training and observing run by Walter on the KPNO Coude Feed telescope in October 2009.

Mark Leising

Dr. Leising is the Co-PI on this project from Clemson University (CU). He handles financial and administrative matters related to the subaward. He coordinates faculty and student participation at and with CU, including SC State access to CU observing facilities at KPNO and elsewhere.He coordinated an overnight visit by four SC State students and three professors in July 2009 to discuss their summer's work, hear about research opportunities from graduate students and faculty, get to know Clemson, and hear more directly from students what graduate school is like. Research activities of everyone involved at both institutions was presented.Dr. Leising served as the research mentor in the summer and fall of 2009 to a SC State POCA/PAARE Tier II (experienced) astronomy intern who conducted research at Clemson during the summer. The student and Dr. Leising presented their results in a poster at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. He is currently working on a paper using the results of that research. The paper is expected to be submitted sometime during Year 3 of this project.

Daniel Smith

Dr. Smith has concentrated largely on two areas related to the project, recruitment and development of curriculum materials. He has personally contacted prospective freshmen to recruit them into the SC State physics program in general and the astronomy option in particular. He has developed recruitment materials for dissemination at conferences and to schools. He attended the October 2009 NSF HBCU-UP conference and manned a POCA/PAARE recruitment booth.Smith has developed two new cosmology laboratory exercises and tested them on classes and summer students and is developing enhanced versions of those labs as described in the section of this report entitled Other Specific Products. He was sole author on a poster presented at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.Smith has also spent time lecturing to the summer POCA/PAARE students.

Jennifer Cash

Jennifer Cash has conducted faculty-level research on RV Tauri stars during Year 2. She was the lead author of a poster and a publication in the Proceedings of the Conference on Stellar Pulsation: Challenges for Theory and Observation. She was also a coauthor on two posters presented at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society. She is currently taking the lead in preparing a publication for peer review that will be submitted by the end of the summer of 2010.Cash has served as the lead faculty mentor at SC State. This includes organizing student skill-building sessions and talks by visiting astronomers. She was the mentor for two SC State interns during the summer of 2009 and one of those students coauthored a poster at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.

Elizabeth Mayo

Dr. Mayo is the Planetarium Manager, an Assistant Professor of Physics and a Radio Astronomer at SC State. She has contributed to this project in a number of ways. Mayo completed her Ph.D. in radio astronomy during Year 1 of the project. She, along with her faculty adviser at the University of Kentucky, is preparing two papers from her thesis work that should be submitted to ApJ and AJ respectively within the first few months of Year 3 of the project. One of those papers was presented as a poster with her as lead author at the January 2010 meeting of the American Astronomical Society.Mayo has conducted outreach activities such as planetarium shows and talks during which she discusses the POCA/PAARE project and recruits prospective K-12 students to attend SCSU and major in physics. Mayo has demonstrated use of radio telescopes and lectured to the SCSU PAARE undergraduates participating in summer research. In Year 3 she will be working with Co-PI Smith to develop one or more cosmology displays to be installed in the campus museum and planetarium.

Jeremy King

Dr. King was responsible for coordinating a research visit by an SCSU undergraduate to Kitt Peak National Observatory (KPNO) to observe on the 4-meter telescope with a senior graduate student from Clemson. This trip to KPNO was instrumental in inspiring the SCSU physics major to select the astronomy option as their major. This undergraduate subsequently was selected to conduct research at Clemson University in the summer of 2009. Dr. King has also started developing an alternate website for the POCA project that will be similar to social network sites that are so popular with students.

Kenneth Mighell

Dr. Mighell has collaborated on this PAARE project in his role as the NSF REU Site Director at KPNO. He has coordinated the preparations for the summer 2009 internship at KPNO by an SC State student and is preparing for two SC State students to intern there in the summer of 2010. He has designed the SC State POCA/PAARE internship to include full participation in the KPNO REU program. He has advised the SCSU PI on computer purchases for the SCSU students so their machines will be fully compatible with the other REU student machines.

Dieter Hartmann

Dr. Hartmann is preparing for SC State's participation in future optical follow-ups to Gamma Ray Bursts. This will include using a portion of SC State's guaranteed observing time on the KPNO 1.3-meter telescope known as the Robotically Controlled Telescope (RCT). Participation by SC State awaits final repair work on the RCT.