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Meet the GLAST Fellows: Nathaniel (Nat) R. Butler
Photo of Nat Butler Photo of Nat Butler. Credit: UC Berkeley
Nathaniel (Nat) R. Butler was chosen in 2008 as a Fellow on NASA's Gamma-ray Large Area Telescope (GLAST) Mission.

Nat Butler observes astrophysical transients from the ground and from space, specializing in Gamma-ray Bursts (GRBs). GLAST measurements of MeV and GeV photons from GRBs and their afterglows will answer key open questions regarding the emission mechanism in GRBs and afterglow flares and help to uncover the nature (compactness, jetting, persistence, etc.) of the progenitors. With the advent of high-duty-cycle, all-sky surveys like Pan-STARRs and LSST, correlated GLAST observations of transients will open a new window into time domain astronomy.

Nat was previously a Townes Fellow at University of California (UC) Berkeley working on instruments and robotic telescopes to observe transients. He also has built a repository and reduction suite for Swift satellite data; developed a novel optical camera for simultaneous 3-color imaging; and helped build a classification engine for astrophysical transients detected by synoptic optical surveys.

Nat received his Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute for Technology (MIT) Center for Space Research, Cambridge, Mass.There, he operated the High Energy Transient Explorer Mission (HETE) satellite to detect GRBs; conducted GRB follow-up observations in the optical and X-ray bands; and designed X-ray optics for prototype space missions. Prior to that, from 1998, he was a graduate research assistant at the MIT CCD Lab where he tested and characterized X-ray CCDs and X-ray mirrors, and calibrated the HETE satellite instruments.

Before coming to MIT, he was a graduate research assistant from 1997-1998 at Princeton University, Princeton, N.J. where he tested and calibrated mirrors for the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) satellite.

Nat has a Bachelor's in Physics from Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., where he graduated in 1998 Magna Cum Laude, and received a Thesis Prize. In Sept. 2003, he received his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society and Sigma Xi.

Related Links:

> Butler's home page
> HETE site
> Swift site
> WMAP site

Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center