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Improving Mass and Age Estimates of Stellar Clusters, Near and Far
The Department of Physics is pleased to invite you to a seminar by Dr. Margaret Hanson, University of Cincinnati, USA.
Star clusters are groups of stars gravitationally bound together, born at the same time. They equip astronomers with powerful benchmarks to derive the history and evolution of the galaxies they reside in, provided accurate values of mass, age and spatial distribution can be obtained. Historically, traditional methods have suffered severe challenges in deriving accurate mass and age estimates of stellar clusters, particularly in more distant galaxies beyond our Local Group (>1 million light years). We have developed a robust suite of novel programs that combine the power of Monte Carlo methods with sophisticated statistical inference to measure mass and age of stellar clusters. Our method successfully overcomes many of the challenges found in traditional methods and provides a revised picture of the life cycle of stellar clusters.
About the Presenter
Margaret M. Hanson has served as the Associate Dean for the Graduate School of the University of Cincinnati since November 2011. She holds her PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado, Boulder, and Bachelor of Science in Physics from the University of Minnesota. She began at the University of Cincinnati in 1998 as assistant professor in physics, and became associate professor and full professor of physics in 2003 and 2009, respectively. Hanson is broadly published, including contributions in two graduate textbooks on astrophysics, and has garnered nearly $2 million in external grants and contracts. She has supported and trained three post-doctoral associates and a dozen master's and PhD students.
Dr. Hanson has served as the Associate Editor-in-Chief for the Astronomical Journal for eight years, been elected to two national positions with the American Astronomical Society (chair, nominating committee and council), and serves on several commissions for the International Astronomical Union. Before serving as Associate Dean, she was program director of the physics undergraduate program. She serves on The AURA Workload and Diversity Committee, which monitors the hiring practices and work environment at the five large, National Astronomical Centers. For 12 years, she has run a monthly afterschool science program that reaches approximately 200 sixth- and seventh-grade girls annually.
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