PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Galactic Structure Evolution Over Time
Astronomers are always trying to learn more about how galaxies form, especially since most of the mass in many galaxies is in the form of dark matter. How does the total mass vary over time? How does the mass of a galaxy's central black hole vary over time? Are there differences in these trends? Since we cannot evolve a galaxy ourselves (except in simulations), we use redshift as a rough proxy for time, and could use composition data, if it was available, as a further refinement of galactic age.
Optimizing Radiation Hardness of Solar Cells for Space
Solar cells used in space not only need to be highly efficient but also light and radiation-resistant, because in space there are streams of high-energy particles that, without the protection of our atmosphere can damage electronic devices. Nanowire solar cells provide some inherent protection from this radiation because of its geometry, which makes the cells last longer, but optimizing the geometry for both radiation resistance and high efficiency is a challenge scientists are still working on.