American Astronomical Society awards ASU students Chambliss medals


May 27, 2020

Three ASU graduate students — Santosh Harish, Rashmeet Kaur Nayyar and Mansi Padave — have been awarded prestigious 2020 Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Awards by the American Astronomical Society (AAS).

Chambliss medals recognize exemplary research by students who present at one of the poster sessions at the meetings of the AAS. Only six awards were granted nationwide to graduate students. American Astronomical Society Chambliss medal The Chambliss medal is awarded annually by the American Astronomical Society. Download Full Image

 Each awardee is honored with a Chambliss medal, which is named after Carlson R. Chambliss of Kutztown University, who donated the funds to support the prize.

Santosh Harish 

Harish is an astrophysics doctoral student in the School of Earth and Space Exploration, whose research is primarily focused on galaxy formation and evolution using emission-line galaxies. He plans to continue exploring such galaxies to better understand the dynamics of galaxy evolution, using multiwavelength studies. 

“It is an honor and privilege to be the recipient of the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award,” said Harish.

“This recognition instills great confidence and encourages aspiring astronomers like myself to reach greater heights in our research.”

Santosh Harish

Harish’s mentors are ASU adjunct professors James Rhoads and Sangeeta Malhotra, who also work at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Facility. 

“Santosh is a fantastic scientist with great attention to detail,” said School of Earth and Space Exploration astronomer Sanchayeeta Borthakur. “I am truly excited to see him grow and shine.”

Rashmeet Kaur Nayyar

Nayyar is a computer science doctoral student at ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering. She is also a member of the Autonomous Agents and Intelligent Robots (AAIR) research group.

Her research focuses on key artificial intelligence principles to help build efficient systems that can reason, plan and act under uncertainty. In collaboration with co-adviser professors Sanchayeeta Borthakur and Siddharth Srivastava, she studies probabilistic approaches to automate physics-based detection and identification of intergalactic clouds.

Rashmeet Kaur Nayyar

“My experience at the American Astronomical Society meeting has opened my eyes to the immense potential of interdisciplinary collaborative research,” said Nayyar.

“I believe in, and remind myself every day, that satisfaction in research comes with a struggle for discovery. I hope my work now, and in the near future, will help in advancing our understanding of the universe and its evolution."

Nayyar’s achievement is particularly exciting because she won this award as a computer science student and presented her AI research on using first-order probabilistic logic for reliably inferring properties of intergalactic space far beyond our own galaxy.

“Not only did she succeed in explaining her work to an entirely different academic community, but she did it so well that she won an award for it! She's helping build bridges across research communities in true ASU style,” said Srivastava.

Mansi Padave

Padave is an astrophysics doctoral student in the School of Earth and Space Exploration. Her current research is an investigation of the connections between stars and interstellar gas in the outskirts of galaxies, which helps us understand galaxy growth and evolution. 

Mansi Padave

“I am honored to receive this award and grateful for being recognized,” said Padave. “Winning this award is a big boost for my career. I feel like I have taken the first step on the long staircase of success but there is always more to learn, experience and achieve. It also makes me believe a little bit more in myself and it motivates me to work harder to successfully complete my PhD and pursue a career in research.”

She is currently working with School of Earth and Space Exploration professors Sanchayeeta Borthakur and Rolf Jansen.

“Padave is an extremely motivated and budding scientist, who is forging her own path,” said Borthakur. “Her work uses state-of-the-art observational facilities available to our graduate students through the Arizona telescope system.”

Karin Valentine

Media Relations & Marketing manager, School of Earth and Space Exploration

480-965-9345

Frozen in time: A film student's creative response to the pandemic


May 27, 2020

As a new member of Herberger Institute Professor Daniel Bernard Roumain’s DBR Lab, ASU film student Keegan Carlson was looking forward to performing with the lab at National Sawdust in Brooklyn, New York, this spring. When plans for that culminating performance came to a halt in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Carlson found himself, like so many other students, socially distancing and “meeting” with his fellow lab members over Zoom.

One day, on a bike ride through downtown Phoenix with his boyfriend, Carlson was drawn to a group of life-size sculpted figures by artist John Waddell outside Herberger Theater. Keegan Carlson Filmmaker Keegan Carlson. Download Full Image

“The statues of the dancers frozen in time spoke to me,” Carlson said.

Inspired, he made a short film titled "Humanity In Us."

“After I pieced together the film, I immediately wanted Daniel to be a part of it,” Carlson said. “Every week since we’ve been in quarantine, we’ve been talking about this whole coronavirus thing in class. And Daniel is an incredible composer.”

Roumain was impressed by Carlson’s work.

“I think this is a good example of an ASU student responding to the most urgent and critical needs facing our communities, with grace within their creative practice,” Roumain said.

A Phoenix-based filmmaker in his final year at ASU, Carlson plans to graduate in December with a degree in film and media production with an emphasis on directing. In 2018, he won best director for his film “Lemonade” at the Scottsdale Short Film Festival and was an official selection for the Phoenix Film Festival.

“Humanity in Us” is the first time Carlson has collaborated with Roumain directly.

“Working with Daniel has been more than anything inspiring,” Carlson said. “He has such a way of motivating and validating us as artists. He has a great way of making us feel like all the work we are doing is so important. That motivation alone has helped tremendously, let alone all his real-life experience and knowledge that he’s sharing with all the lab members. It’s been really great learning the business side of putting on a show, learning about Daniel’s professional career and how he got there.”

Video courtesy Keegan Carlson

Carlson said that the powerful message in his film is “elevated by the extremely emotional and moving score.”

“I hope that this film is a message and a reminder for people to really think about how they treat other people during this time,” Carlson said. “I hope it moves you to hold your hand out to people in need and share and be compassionate.”

Deborah Sussman

Communications and media specialist, Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts

480-965-0478