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Recent news from The Johns Hopkins University

This section contains regularly updated highlights of the news from around The Johns Hopkins University. Links to the complete news reports from the nine schools, the Applied Physics Laboratory and other centers and institutes are to the left, as are links to help news media contact the Johns Hopkins communications offices.

 

Telescope Peering into Origins of the Universe Receives “First Light”

High in the Andes Mountains of northern Chile a unique Johns Hopkins University observatory has just achieved “first light,” the first time the telescope has collected radiation from space.

New Research Shows Quasars Slowed Star Formation

Research led by Johns Hopkins University scientists has found new persuasive evidence that could help solve a long-standing mystery in astrophysics: why did the pace of star formation in the universe slow down some 11 billion years ago?

Scientists Get First Glimpse of Black Hole Eating Star, Ejecting High-Speed Flare

An international team of astrophysicists led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist has for the first time witnessed a black hole swallowing a star and ejecting a flare of matter moving at nearly the speed of light.

Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Shares 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize

Johns Hopkins University’s Marc Kamionkowski is a winner of the 2015 Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics, one of the top prizes in the field, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) and the American Institute of Physics (AIP) announced today. The honor, which is awarded annually to outstanding mid-career scientists, carries a cash prize of $10,000 that will be split between Kamionkowski and his co-recipient, David Spergel of Princeton University.

Big Black Holes Can Block New Stars

Massive black holes spewing out radio-frequency-emitting particles at near-light speed can block formation of new stars in aging galaxies, a study has found.

Johns Hopkins Astrophysicist Receives Prestigious Packard Fellowship

Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Brice Ménard has been awarded a 2014 David and Lucile Packard Foundation Fellowship for Science and Engineering. Ménard plans to use this fellowship to work on a new technique to estimate the distance of galaxies and then explore new directions of research.

Researchers Explain Magnetic Field Misbehavior in Solar Flares: The Culprit is Turbulence

When a solar flare filled with charged particles erupts from the sun, its magnetic fields sometime break a widely accepted rule of physics. The flux-freezing theorem dictates that the magnetic lines of force should flow away in lock-step with the particles, whole and unbroken. Instead, the lines sometimes break apart and quickly reconnect in a way that has mystified astrophysicists. But in a paper published in the May 23 issue of the journal Nature, an interdisciplinary research team led by a Johns Hopkins mathematical physicist says it has found a key to the mystery.

JHU Cosmologists Receive “New Frontiers” Award for Work on “Origami Universe”

Two Johns Hopkins University research scientists who use the Japanese art of paper folding, known as origami, as a metaphor for understanding the complexity of the cosmos have been named winners of an award through the “New Frontiers in Astronomy & Cosmology International Grant and Essay Writing Competition,” funded by the John Templeton Foundation. Mark Neyrinck and Miguel Aragón-Calvo, both of the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at the Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences, were chosen from an international competition led by the University of Chicago’s Donald G. York to receive a grant to explore fundamental questions in astronomy and cosmology that engage groundbreaking ideas on the nature of the universe

Media Advisory: Observe the Transit of Venus at Johns Hopkins University Astrophysics Event

The Maryland Space Grant Observatory and Johns Hopkins University are inviting star gazers of every experience level to an event that not only will allow them to view the transit, but also to learn more about it, beginning at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5 at the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, 3799 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, 21218.

Johns Hopkins Led WMAP Mission Scores World’s Most Cited Science Publications in 2011

All three of the most highly cited scientific papers in the world published in 2011 were from an astrophysics space mission project led by a Johns Hopkins University scientist, according to Thomson Reuters’ Science Watch. The papers cite results from the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP), a NASA spacecraft launched in 2001 that has revolutionized our knowledge of the history, composition, and geometry of the universe. The WMAP mission is led by Charles L. Bennett, Alumni Centennial Professor of Physics and Astronomy and Johns Hopkins Gilman Scholar

Media Advisory: Johns Hopkins University 9th Annual Physics Fair 2012: Saturday, April 21

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University is hosting its 9th Annual Physics Fair from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, coinciding with the annual Spring Fair celebration on the Homewood campus, 3400 N. Charles St. in Baltimore. Events will take place in the Bloomberg Center for Physics and Astronomy, located on the north end of the campus near Homewood Field.

NASA’s Hubble Detects One of the Most Distant Supernovae Yet Observed

A team of Johns Hopkins astrophysicists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has detected a distant Type Ia supernova, the farthest stellar explosion that can be used to measure the expansion rate of the universe. The supernova is the remnant of a star that exploded 9 billion years ago.

NSF $1.2 Million Grant to Fund Massive Data “Pipeline” at Johns Hopkins

Financed by a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant, one of the world’s fastest and most advanced scientific computer networks—one capable of transferring in and out of The Johns Hopkins University per day the amount of data equivalent to 80 million file cabinets filled with text—will be built on the university’s Homewood campus, with support from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Johns Hopkins Astronomer Wins 2011 Balzan Prize

Johns Hopkins University astronomer Joseph Silk has been awarded the 2011 Balzan Prize, for his pioneering work on the infant universe. The $950,000 award is given annually to people or organizations that have made outstanding achievements in the fields of the natural sciences, humanities and culture, as well as for peace-promoting endeavors.

Renowned Theoretical Physicist Marc Kamionkowski Joins Johns Hopkins Faculty

Marc Kamionkowski, considered one of the world’s leading theoretical physicists for his work in large-scale structures and the early history of the universe, will join the faculty in the Henry A. Rowland Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University’s Krieger School of Arts and Sciences on July 1. An endowed professor at California Institute of Technology, Kamionkowski has spent much of his career researching astrophysics, cosmology and elementary particle theory.

“Oddball” Star Cluster is a Hybrid, JHU Astronomer Finds

Johns Hopkins astronomer Imants Platais and a colleague conducted a census of stars in the NGC 6791 star cluster and found it is an interesting hybrid that sheds new light on scientists’ understanding of how stars form and evolve. A paper on the study appeared in the May 20 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Online Universe Wins AAAS Website Award

A website that brings the universe into the homes and onto the computer screens of professional and amateur astronomers alike has won a Science Prize for Online Resources in Education, known as SPORE, from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Built by a Johns Hopkins University team led by astrophysicist and computer scientist Alexander Szalay, the SkyServer search tool of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey’s database makes more than 350 million stars and galaxies available to students, teachers and the public. SkyServer’s Mapquest-like interface allows them to pan through the sky, zoom in and out, and click on stars and galaxies for more information.

Astrophysicist is Co-Winner of Million-Dollar Shaw Prize

Johns Hopkins University astrophysicist Charles Bennett and two colleagues today have been awarded this year’s $1 million Shaw Prize in astronomy for groundbreaking research determining the precise age, composition and curvature of the universe.

JHU Astrophysicist and Team Win $5 Million Stimulus Grant to Build Telescope

A team led by Johns Hopkins astrophysicist Charles L. Bennett has won a $5 million National Science Foundation grant – administered through the stimulus act – to build an instrument designed to probe what happened during the universe’s first trillionth of a second, when it suddenly grew from submicroscopic to astronomical size in far less than time than it takes to blink your eye.