CAREER: A NEW FRONTIER IN DARK MATTER SUBSTRUCTURE STUDIES

Project Details

Description

The Cold Dark Matter paradigm for the universe predicts that galaxy dark matter halos should contain thousands of bound subhalos left over from the hierarchical galaxy formation process. Strong gravitational lensing provides the only direct test of this prediction in galaxies outside the Local Group. Dr. Charles Keeton (Rutgers University) will work to open a new frontier in substructure studies with gravitational lens time delays. Time delays offer a number of advantages. The theory of time delays and substructure is rich and tractable, providing a rigorous foundation and revealing how to observe and analyze lenses to best probe substructure. Time delays provide access not only to the total amount of substructure, but also to the distribution of subhalo masses.In conjunction with this work, Dr. Keeton will implement a program to integrate scientific critical thinking into undergraduate education by creating a vibrant astrophysics learning community comprising four elements. First, he will create a special topics seminar to introduce freshmen to research in astrophysics. Second, he will create a new course for sophomores to learn how to read, critique, and compose scientific arguments in different styles of scientific communication. Third, he will create a student-led astrophysics reading group for students to continue honing their critical thinking skills. The reading group will create 'science reader's guides' for dissemination, and will host a visiting research lecture each semester aimed at undergraduates. Fourth, Dr. Keeton will use these activities to guide students into research projects, including his own research group. Though the focus is astrophysics, all elements, except the research project, will appeal to students from all areas of science and engineering. The community will be vertically integrated so that beginning students may interact with and learn from more experienced students, and then later take their turn as peer mentors. Dr. Keeton will use established assessment tools to evaluate and adjust his pedagogical methods in these various interactive learning environments. He will also disseminate his new pedagogical methods for use by other instructors.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date7/1/086/30/13

Funding

  • National Science Foundation (National Science Foundation (NSF))

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