Graduate Student in Physics
What do you do here at Wright Lab?
I work with Professor Laura Newburgh on the HIRAX experiment, which is a South Africa-based 21cm radio telescope that, once complete, will put new constraints on Dark Energy. I am focused specifically on two calibration projects: (i) characterizing the noise properties of the HIRAX antennas and, (ii) mapping the HIRAX beam pattern.
For the first project, I designed and built a cryogenic RF chamber, which is located in the back of the vault, and will resume operations once we return to WL. This involved much collaboration and support from Frank Lopez, Tommy Hurteau, Craig Miller, and many other Wright Lab staff.
For the second project, I am working with others in the Newburgh group to fly a noise source on a drone over our telescopes, which will allow us to calibrate out certain instrument effects from our cosmology data.
What is the most unique and/or exciting experience you’ve had here at Wright Lab?
The most excited I’ve been in WL was probably during the noise measurement project described above. This past December, after over a year of simulation work, safety planning, and sculpting more types of foam than I care to count, we finally filled my RF chamber with >500L of liquid nitrogen. It’s a totally unique thing to see that much cryogen sitting right in front of you, boiling like a cauldron.
What is something that people might not know about you that you’d like to share with the community?
I love hiking and most things outdoors. Before graduate school, my partner and I lived in a tent for two months as we road-tripped around the United States National Parks.
Where do you like to work remotely?
Where I would like to work, and where I am currently working are two different things! I am currently working remotely on my dining room table, with my monitor blocking out the mail and produce that share my workspace. The photo I’ve shared was taken during Dr. Shelly Lesher’s “Impact of the Atom” class (now over Zoom), which I TA.