Physics & Astronomy Seminar-Classical Novae, Gamma-Rays, and Computation in Physics: The Work of a Transient Astronomer and Physics Educator

3:30 PM  - 4:30 PM
Monday Mar 11, 2019
Olin-Rice Science Center 150

Dr. Thomas Finzell, post-doctoral research fellow, University of Michigan, will present "Classical Novae, Gamma-Rays, and Computation in Physics: The Work of a Transient Astronomer and Physics Educator."

Classical novae are thermonuclear events that occur on the surface of white dwarfs (burnt out stellar cores), and for nearly 40 years astronomers thought they had them figured out. But eight years ago, something unexpected happened: astronomers discovered some classical novae emit extremely energetic gamma-rays. In this talk, I will discuss how our understanding of classical novae has changed dramatically in the last decade, the new physics incorporated into our model that explain the presence of gamma-rays, and my role in effecting those changes. I will end my talk by discussing my transition from astrophysics to physics education research, and my current work studying how we can improve the way we teach physics by integrating computation into the classroom.

Sponsored By: Physics & Astronomy

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