ASU cosmologist awarded a NASA fellowship in astrophysics

March 15, 2012

Experimental cosmologist Judd Bowman has been awarded a NASA Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship in Astrophysics for early-career researchers. He is one of three recipients to receive this prestigious new award.

Bowman is an assistant professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. He is an interested in the formation of structure in the early Universe, including the first stars, galaxies, and black holes. Judd Bowman Download Full Image

Last fall, NASA established the Roman Technology Fellowship program to foster technologies that advance scientific investigations in the origin and physics of the universe and future exoplanet exploration. The fellowship is named after Nancy Grace Roman, a distinguished American astronomer who was instrumental in establishing the new era of space-based astronomical instrumentation. The award will support Bowman and a postdoc for a one-year concept study, with the opportunity to continue on for a three-year instrument development program.

This fellowship is well-suited to Bowman’s research interests, which focus on the development of technologies to enable observational probes of Cosmic Dawn, the period when the first stars, galaxies, and black holes are believed to have formed only a few hundred million years after the Big Bang.

“Learning how and when stars and galaxies first formed in the early Universe is central to understanding our place in the Universe today, yet it is very challenging. The first galaxies will be very difficult to see with telescopes so we are trying a different approach,” explains Bowman.

The project that Bowman proposed is to identify the best wideband radio receiver design at low radio frequencies.

“Low-frequency radio observation of the redshifted 21 cm line of neutral hydrogen is a promising technique to study the gas around the first galaxies, but we need to build radio receivers that we can calibrate 100 times better the best radio receiver used by astronomers today. That is a difficult task! We have only just begun to attempt it,” says Bowman. “The Roman Technology Fellowship will hopefully give us the jump start we need to make this technology a reality.”

Bowman and collaborators have already designed a prototype and will be traveling to Australia over spring break to test it. Stay current on the latest developments by reading posts at:

“This project very much epitomizes what SESE stands for – the melding of science and technology to promote exploration of our Universe and environment. We are pushing technological limits in ways that will likely benefit earth, atmospheric, and planetary science, as well as astronomy. In order to even get to this point, we've had to revisit and extend core equations used in electrical engineering that have been well established for over 30 years,” says Bowman.

The receiver Bowman and his collaborators will develop is part of a NASA mission concept called DARE (Dark Ages Radio Explorer) that would orbit the Moon, using the Moon as a shield to block disruptive transmissions, such as FM radio and TV stations, originating from the earth.

“We will work closely with our collaborators on DARE at JPL, University of Colorado, and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. In particular, this fellowship will help to strengthen ties between ASU and JPL and provide opportunities for students to visit JPL and JPL scientists to come to ASU to work with students in our lab here,” says Bowman.

Bowman is principal investigator of EDGES, a ground-based pathfinder for the DARE mission concept, and is project scientist for the Murchison Widefield Array. Bowman also co-leads the DARE Calibration and Instrument Validation team and is a co-investigator of the Lunar University Network for Astrophysics Research.

Nikki Cassis

marketing and communications director, School of Earth and Space Exploration

Track & field opens outdoor season at home

March 15, 2012

Baldy Castillo Heat Sheets Get Acrobat Reader

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The Arizona State University track and field program will set to the Joe Selleh Track at Sun Angel Stadium this weekend to play host to the Baldy Castillo Invitational on Friday and Saturday. After a strong finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships last weekend, the Sun Devils are now working toward preparations for the Pac-12 and NCAA Outdoor Championships to be held in May and June, respectively.

Last weekend, eight Sun Devils competed in the NCAA indoor meet with the men finishing in fourth place overall. Mason McHenry and Jordan Clarke led the way for ASU in Nampa, Idaho as both earned national titles in the 800-meter run and shot put, respectively.

McHenry and Clarke were ranked eighth going into a meet that marked the second time in Arizona State’s indoor history that two Sun Devils have won their event in the same year.   McHenry posted a facility-best time of 1:47.87 in the prelims to send him on his way into the finals and into first place.

Clarke’s 20.86m (65-05.25) toss on his final throw of the competition not only won him the title but also destroyed his prior career-best mark by over a meter. The title was Clarke’s second NCAA title after winning the 2011 NCAA Outdoor shot put event.

Senior triple jumper Chris Benard also had a hand in the men’s fourth place finish with his career-record jump of 16.50m (54-01.75) to finish second and post a new school record along the way.

Sophomore high-jumper Bryan McBride finished sixth to aide the team to the finish. On the women’s side, sophomore Anna Jelmini had a new career-best throw indoors in the shot put of 17.15m (56-03.25) to place fifth overall at the competition and earn her second consecutive first-team All-America award.

The USTFCCCA announced its list of student-athletes that earned All-America honors following their appearances at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships with five Sun Devils earning First Team honors and three earning Second Team honors. On the men’s side, McHenry, Clarke, Benard and McBride received First Team honors while Nick Happe (mile) and Ryan Milus (60m) received Second-Team honors. For the women, Anna Jelmini was the first-team honoree for the Sun Devils while Christabel Nettey earned second-team in the long jump.

With the indoor season finally coming to a close, the Sun Devils head into this weekend with a different mindset. This weekend the Sun Devils will switch their focus to the outdoor season as several teams and individuals will visit at Sun Angel Stadium on Friday and Saturday for the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

The first event of the outdoor season is the first of four home meets this year and the first of two in a row (ASU Invitational next weekend in Tempe). Schools that will be represented with at least one athlete in the meet include: ASU, Texas A&M, UC Riverside, Manhattan, Mesa CC, Scottsdale CC and Glendale CC.

On Friday, the men’s hammer will open the competition starting a 2 p.m. MST with the women’s hammer following afterwards.  This season will also see a couple other changes to the Friday schedule as there will be a couple running events, beginning with the men’s 2,000-meter steeplechase at 6:30 p.m. MST, followed by the men’s and women’s 1,500-meter runs.

Events will resume on Saturday, March 17, with the women’s pole vault beginning at 10:30 a.m. to start the field events while the running events will commence at 1 p.m.

Next weekend, the Sun Devils will play host to the ASU Invitational on March 23-24, holding a similar schedule to this weekend’s event in Tempe.