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Date: Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Speaker: David J. Thompson, Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope Deputy Project Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
Topic: Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope: Recent Results
Time and Location: 1:00 PM, with Q&A to follow; in a 1st floor conference room at the American Center for Physics, 1 Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD-- off River Rd., between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.
Abstract: The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, launched on 11 June 2008, views the entire sky every three hours, enabling a search for powerful transients like gamma-ray bursts, novae, solar flares, and flaring active galactic nuclei, as well as long-term studies including pulsars, binary systems, supernova remnants, and searches for predicted sources of gamma rays such as dark matter annihilation. Some results include a stringent limit on Lorentz invariance derived from a gamma-ray burst, unexpected gamma-ray variability from the Crab Nebula, a huge gamma-ray structure associated with the center of our galaxy, surprising behavior from some gamma-ray binary systems, and a possible constraint on some WIMP models for dark matter.
David Thompson is a Deputy Project Scientist for the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. He has worked as an astrophysicist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, since 1973. He did his undergraduate work at the Johns Hopkins University and holds a PhD in physics from the University of Maryland. He has worked in all aspects of observational gamma-ray astrophysics: designing, building, testing and operating balloon and satellite gamma-ray telescopes and then analyzing and interpreting results from those telescopes. He regularly talks to students and the public about topics in space science. In 2009, he participated in a History Channel episode of “Universe” about pulsars and quasars.
Biographical information: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/GLAST/team/thompson-bio.html