Claire Murray Wins Stebbins Award
Dec 12, 2013
The 2013 Stebbins Award of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Astronomy Department goes to graduate student Claire Murray.
The Stebbins Award honors a significant research achievement made during the previous year. In addition, the Stebbins Award recognizes scientific independence, leadership and creativity; external recognition in papers and talks; and ability to communicate research to a scientific audience.
This year, Claire submitted a paper measuring the temperature of an important but elusive phase of the interstellar medium (ISM), the warm neutral medium (WNM). Direct detection of the WNM via neutral hydrogen (HI) absorption is difficult due to its extremely low optical depth, and Claire presented observational and data reduction strategies to push the VLA to its sensitivity limits online in the NRAO Memo Series. Her WNM temperature estimate constrains the dominant excitation mechanisms in diffuse HI, which can aid in interpreting HI signals locally and at high redshift. In addition, the stacking analysis method she helped to develop is new to Galactic HI studies and has great potential for future ISM work.