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Chandra Fellows Strut Their Stuff

October 26, 2001 ::
The 2001 Chandra Fellows Symposium speakers, their host institution, and the titles of the talks were:
Eric Agol (Caltech)
"Quasar Microlensing: Polarization and Iron Lines as a Probe of Accretion Disk Physics"

Elizabeth L. Blanton (University of Virginia)
"The Interaction of Radio Sources and X-ray-Emitting Gas in Cluster Cooling Flows"

Markus Boettcher (Rice University)
"Blazar Broadband Modeling and Observations"

Ming Feng Gu (MIT)
"A Program for Calculating Atomic Properties and Its Application in X-ray Spectroscopy"

Jeremy Heyl (Harvard)
"So What Is the Weather Like on Aquila X-1?"

Jimmy Irwin (University of Michigan)
"The Chandra View of the Stellar and Gaseous X-ray Components of Early-type Galaxies"

Li-Xin Li (Harvard University)
"Disk Powered by a Black Hole"

Andisheh Mahdavi (University of Hawaii)
"The Relationship Between X-ray Luminosity and Velocity Dispersion for Galaxies and Clusters of Galaxies"

Kristen Menou (Princeton University)
"The Merger History of Supermassive Black Holes in Galaxies"

Erik Reese (University of California at Berkeley)
"Determining the Cosmic Distance Scale with Galaxy Clusters"

Masao Sako (Caltech)
"Inflowing and Outflowing Regions in AGN"

Dave Strickland (Johns Hopkins University)
"Early Results from a High Resolution X-ray Survey of Violent Galactic Outflows"

Jacco Vink (Columbia University)
"Evidence for Non-thermal Bremsstrahlung from the Supernova Remnant MSH14-63/RCW 86"

Rudy Wijnands (MIT)
"A Chandra Observation of the Neutron Star X-ray Transient KS 1731-2600 in Quiescence: Too cold a Neutron Star?"
The American philosopher and educator John Dewey once wrote, "Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination." One way to infuse such imagination is to let gifted young researchers use the most sophisticated scientific tools available.

Jimmy Irwin from the Univ. of Michigan
Jimmy Irwin (Univ. of Michigan) presenting "The Chandra View of the Stellar and Gaseous X-ray Components of Early-type Galaxies"
To that end, the Chandra X-ray Center annually selects a group of young scientists to serve as Chandra Fellows. Each Fellow has recently received their doctorates in astrophysics or a related field and is chosen after a highly competitive process. Once selected, the Fellows are awarded three-year appointments to conduct research with NASA's Chandra satellite. This research can include new Chandra observations and archival analysis as well as related theoretical and observational studies of X-ray sources at all wavelengths.

Jimmy Irwin from the Univ. of Michigan
Dave Strickland (Johns Hopkins Univ.) presenting "Early Results from a High Resolution X-ray Survey of Violent Galactic Outflows"
"The Chandra Fellows program is very important because it allows some of the most talented young scientists to focus on scientific research for three years," says Harvey Tananbaum, Director of the Chandra X-ray Center. "Fellows decide on their own area of research and the Chandra fellowship allows them to devote their full efforts to unraveling some of the most challenging questions about our universe and its contents."

On a recent chilly, rainy October morning, these Fellows and other scientists gathered at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Massachusetts, for the annual Chandra Fellows Symposium. The Fellows use this day-long program to present highlights of their research -- which covers neutron stars, black holes, and other cosmic exotica -- to their colleagues and other members of the scientific community.

One unique aspect of the Chandra fellowship program is that each Fellow conducts his or her research at a host institution anywhere in the United States. The funds, which provide each researcher with a salary plus travel and other research costs, come from NASA HQ in Washington, DC, and are administered through the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge.

"The Chandra Fellows are deliberately located at a variety of institutions so that they can interact with many groups of colleagues and students," said Nancy Remage Evans of the Chandra X-ray Center who coordinates the Chandra Fellowship Program. "The Symposium is the one time each year when they can meet with each other, and we get to see them at the CXC."

Dr. Stephen Murray, keynote speaker
Dr. Stephen Murray, keynote speaker
The 2001 program covered the gamut of astrophysical questions. The morning sessions covered such topics as supernovas (the collapse and explosion of massive stars) and black holes, the mysterious cosmic objects from which nothing, not even light, can escape. In the afternoon session Chandra Fellows discussed such far-reaching topics as the role of hot gas in early galaxies to the formation and importance of "superwinds" to galaxy clusters, the largest known structures in the universe.

Senior Chandra scientists were impressed by what they saw and heard. Dr. Stephen Murray, keynote speaker for the symposium and the principal investigator on the High-Resolution Camera instrument aboard Chandra, summarized the general impression. "Having worked on the Chandra project for over 25 years, it is a great joy to see it being used for so many fabulous areas of study." he said.

The abstracts and the slides accompanying some of the presentations are available at:

For more information on the Chandra Fellows Program, please visit
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