Naked Eye Swift Telecon Presenters

Naked Eye Presenters

Presenter 1: David Burrows
NASA Swift X-ray Telescope lead, Penn State

Photo of David Burrows
David Burrows is a Senior Scientist and Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University. He heads both the Swift X-ray Telescope instrument team and the Swift science operations team. He is a Co-Investigator on the Chandra Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS) instrument, and was responsible for the CUBIC instrument on the Argentine/U.S. SAC-B satellite.

He has expertise in gamma-ray bursts and their X-ray afterglows, X-ray observations of supernova remnants, and X-ray instrumentation. Burrows was honored with the American Astronomical Society's Bruno Rossi Prize in 2007 and with several NASA Achievement Awards for his work on the SAC-B and Swift missions. He was named a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2007.

Presenter 2: Judith Racusin
Graduate student, Penn State

Photo of Judith Racusin
Judith Racusin is a graduate student in the department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University who plans to complete her Ph.D. requirements within the coming year. Her dissertation focuses on the properties of gamma-ray-burst afterglows and their implications for burst geometry and energetics.

She has been actively involved with science and engineering for NASA's Swift mission since before its November 2004 launch. Racusin worked extensively with the Swift team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center on thermal testing of the spacecraft. As a member of Swift's science operations team, Racusin developed software that is integral to the satellite's daily operations.

Presenter 3: Grigory Beskin
Relativistic Astrophysics Group Head, Special Astrophysical Observatory

Photo of Beskin Grigory Beskin heads the Relativistic Astrophysics group at the Special Astrophysical Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences in the in the North Caucasus. The group focuses on investigating rapidly variable relativistic objects such as black holes and neutron stars with high temporal resolution using the Russian 6-meter telescope and custom hardware.

Since 1997, Beskin has worked on the problem of continuously monitoring wide areas of the sky to identify and study fast optical transients. In 2003, his group -- in collaboration with the Russian Space Research Institute and Institute for Precise Instrumentations -- began operating custom wide-field monitoring cameras with high temporal resolution aimed toward detecting gamma-ray bursts. In 2005, the team began collaborating with Bologna State University and Brera Observatory in Italy to build a second-generation camera -- TORTORA. The following year, the camera was installed at the European Southern Observatory in Chile in 2006. With GRB 080319B, TORTORA now has its first success.

Presenter 4: Dieter Hartmann
Professor, Clemson University

Photo of Dieter Hartmann Dieter Hartmann is a professor of astrophysics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Clemson University in South Carolina. He began his studies of astrophysics at the University of Göttingen, Germany, and received his Ph.D. in 1989 from the University of California Santa Cruz. After a postdoctoral appointment at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, he moved to Clemson to pursue research in gamma-ray astronomy during the era dominated by NASA's Compton Gamma Ray Observatory.

Hartmann's primary research objectives are gamma-ray bursts and gamma-ray-line astronomy, fields that are currently driven through space observations from Fermi and Swift (NASA), INTEGRAL (ESA), and AGILE (Italy). These two areas contribute to the study of galactic and cosmic chemical evolution, dominant themes in his research. In addition to research and teaching, he serves the community as a Scientific Editor of both The Astrophysical Journal and the undergraduate research publication Journal of the Southeastern Association for Research in Astronomy.

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