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Note Date: May 27, 2009
Speaker: Dr. David Thompson, NASA Goddard
Time and Location: The talk will start at 1:00 pm. A Q&A session will follow. It will be held in one of the first floor conference rooms at the American Center for Physics, One Physics Ellipse, College Park, MD. This is located off River Road, between Kenilworth Ave. and Paint Branch Parkway.
Abstract: The Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, formerly called GLAST, is a mission to study the most energetic form of light: gamma rays. In addition to breakthrough capabilities in energy coverage and localization, the very large field of view enables observations of 20% of the sky at any instant and the entire sky on a timescale of a few hours. Following its launch on 11 June 2008, Fermi now opens a new and important window on a wide variety of phenomena, including pulsars, black holes and active galactic nuclei, gamma-ray bursts, the origin of cosmic rays and supernova remnants, and searches for hypothetical new phenomena such as supersymmetric dark matter annihilation.
Biography: David Thompson is the GLAST Deputy Project Scientist who serves as the Multiwavelength Coordinator for the Large Area Telescope (LAT) on the Gamma ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST). . He has worked in the Astrophysics Science Division of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, MD,. since 1973. He has been involved in high-energy studies of pulsars, blazars, gamma-ray bursts, diffuse radiation, and unidentified sources.
Prior to coming to Goddard, he was a Research Associate at the University of Maryland. His early work used a balloon-borne gamma-ray telescope to study gamma rays produced by cosmic ray interactions in the Earth's upper atmosphere. In 1972, with the launch of the SAS-2 gamma-ray telescope, he began studying cosmic sources of high-energy gamma rays, especially diffuse Galactic radiation and gamma-ray pulsars.
Thompson received his B.A. in Physics from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. in 1967, and his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Maryland in 1973.