Author Archive

Astronomers win Nobel in Physics! Win for NOTRE DAME!

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

posted by: krueff

2011 Nobel Prize in Physics

Check it OUT!:

[left to right: Riess, Perlmutter, Schmidt]

“for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae”

“4 October 2011

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011

with one half to

Saul Perlmutter
The Supernova Cosmology Project
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California,
Berkeley, CA, USA

and the other half jointly to

Brian P. Schmidt
The High-z Supernova Search Team
Australian National University,
Weston Creek, Australia


Adam G. Riess
The High-z Supernova Search Team
Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute,
Baltimore, MD, USA”

How does this relate to Notre Dame? One of our very own physics professors worked with these scientists to make their discovery:
Dr. Peter Garnavich helped to establish and worked on High-Z Supernova Search Team with above Brian Schmidt & Adam Riess.
In 2007, Peter shared the 2007 Gruber Prize in Cosmology with Schmidt and Perlmutter:  Winning the 2007 Gruber Prize!

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“Particles break light-speed limit”… NatureNews

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

posted by: krueff

If you haven’t read about the groundbreaking (not yet confirmed) results from the OPERA experiment in Italy READ IT NOW!

Particles (neutrinos) may be traveling FASTER than the speed of light!  Which would, sorry Einstein, fundamentally change physics as we know it!

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Google Gravity

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

posted by: krueff

Want to have some fun with Google?

1.)  Google “Google Gravity” or Click here -> Google Gravity

2.) Wait for something neat to happen

3.) Play around with everything… including the Google Logo specifically…

4.) When you’ve had your fun, type something into the search menu (wherever it is) and hit ENTER.

5.) Wait for something neat to happen…

6.) Rinse and Repeat steps 3-5 all day long and get no work done!

I had a blast with this… and now I’m getting back to work, of course….. :)

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Read: Women in Science Article

Monday, September 12th, 2011

posted by: krueff

This article hits pretty close to home, and adds to the fear that has been building about my attempts at future employment within the next 2 years…

Women in Science

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Hubble Movies Will Leave You Speechless

Thursday, September 1st, 2011

posted by: krueff

These Unprecedented Hubble Movies Just Left Me Speechless.

GO the the link above and watch the incredible movies from Hubble, they are amazing!

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A Planet made of Diamond! *Cha-Ching!*

Friday, August 26th, 2011

posted by: krueff

A diamond composed planet, traveling every 2 hours around its star, that star being a super-fast pulsar… it’s a cosmic jumble of scientific awesome!

Head over to to read the full article!

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Brazil Workshop, the last days….

Friday, August 19th, 2011

posted by: krueff

(Click for HD view!) View from the top floor of the PUC-Rio building, looking out over a small, but beautiful, part of Rio at sunset…. Last evening we took our final coffee/snack break on the 12th floor of the PUC building and we were all blown away by the incredible view. Last night was the 1st night I got to see the constellations in the Southern Hemisphere… not the clearest night, but I got to see the Southern Cross (Crux) and  Centaurus for the 1st time in my life :)

Today, (Friday) I presented my talk at The Evolving Universe Workshop on Star Formation in Thick Disks of Spiral Galaxies.  We have a few more talks before the workshop closes and we have the final words.  After which a group of the students and myself plan to head to visit  Sugarloaf, Cristo Redentor, and Copacabana for the rest of the afternoon. :)

I head home from Rio late Saturday night ~ 10:30pm, flying back 10hrs to Charlotte, then to Chicago and then back to South Bend.

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Brazil Workshop day 3: Rainforest & Dinner!

Thursday, August 18th, 2011

posted by: krueff

I can now say that I have hiked through a rainforest…

This is at the top of Pedra Bonita in Rio de Janeiro, about 2200′ elevation, within the Tijuca Forest National Park.

(Click on pic for HD view) This is the view towards Rio de Janeiro… our hostel is beyond the two large mountain peaks in the distance.  It took about 4 hours total for our trip, the trail was intense at times, but it was unforgettable experience.  After the hike, we all came back, got our suits and headed to the beach, where swimming and beach volleyball consumed the rest of the time before we had to head back to the hostel to shower, change, and get gussied up for dinner.

(Pic Above: Sandra from CUA and me outside our hostel before dinner).  The Conference Dinner was at “a mineira humaita”, which was an all-you-can-eat Brazilian buffet.  It was also an all-you-can-drink for different traditional Brazilian liquors.  Dinner was spectacular, I ate entirely too much (as did EVERYONE), and ate some things I wasn’t aware I was eating (i.e. Chicken hearts, very standard in Brazil, which was in a soup I tried last night).

We had a great evening having all of the conference astronomers together at long group tables, laughing, sharing stories, and occasionally talking science :)


Today (Thursday) we have a full day of talks and conference work and then plan to head out to the beaches tonight.

Tomorrow (Friday) I give my talk at the conference presenting my research from Notre Dame! :)

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Brazil Workshop day 2: Howk, Botanical, Planetarium!

Tuesday, August 16th, 2011

posted by: krueff

Prof Chris Howk giving his invited talk at PUC-Rio this morning on “Light Elements and the Chemical Evolution of Gas is the Universe”!

At lunch we went to visit the Botanical Gardens in the middle of Rio, which was phenomenal!

Tonight we ended the Workshop at the Planetarium at PUC-Rio, were we attended the “History of Astronomy in Brazil” lecture, which was a great experience and full of incredibly neat info about Brazil… the most memorable of which was learning that the Brazilian flag has specific constellations based on a specific day when Brazil was founded and that astronomy has played a major role in the life of Brazil as a country:

Tomorrow (Wed) we go hiking with all the astronomers in the Tijuca Rain Forest… we’re hiking to the top of a huge plateau rock and then having a picnic :)

Lots of great pictures to come, but for now, the Wifi in the hostel will not let me manage all the awesome images I want to upload!  Stay Tuned!

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Hello from Brazil!

Thursday, August 11th, 2011

posted by: krueff

Today was my first day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil!  Above is a picture of Rafael (Student from Catholic University in D.C.) and me on the Av. Vieira Souto enjoying coconut water, which literally is the delicious water inside these (surprisingly heavy) coconuts.

So far I’ve been very overwhelmed by not speaking the language, but Rafael and Duilia, the main organizer and professor for the workshop and my trip, have been exceptionally wonderful.  I have only been here a day and already they have helped me more than I could ever thank them for.  From Rafael helping me get from the airport to my hotel and teaching me lots of history about Brazil on the ride, to Duilia sharing tons of info on food, people, and the culture that only an insider would be able to share :)  They are great people to have here and get to connect and work with.

Today was particularly cold (~60 F) and rainy for winter in Rio, but we went out walking the streets, and I got acquainted with some areas and important stops.

Duilia took us to this neat restaurant for lunch, where I got to try my first coxinha:

Which is a yummy ball of shredded chicken and spices, battered and fried.  These were really tasty, as was my lunch which was a juicy chicken breast sandwich topped with Minas cheese, which I can only describe as mozzarella texture mixed with questo fresco/provolone tastes.

Tomorrow Rafael and I give our colloquium talks to the Physics department at PUC-Rio.  We’re traveling with Duilia to PUC-Rio, then meeting Enio, taking a tour of his lab, and then working on our talks until lunch…

I’m very nervous, which is why I’m heading to bed currently so I’m well rested.  But, I can’t wait to see what else awaits on this adventure!!!!

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