Spring 2014 GSC Conference Travel Grant Winners Series
The Graduate Student Council (GSC) offers graduate student conference travel grants in the fall and spring of each academic year. The grants are awarded to qualifying students to help finance their travel and/or registration at conferences or other academic gatherings at which they will be presenting their research. This is the second part in our series. Read about other recipients here.
Chris Carroll is a second-year PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy. In June he attended the International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation conference in Montreal, Canada. The mission of SPIE is the advancement of light-based technologies, with interests that include optical systems, imaging engineering, lasers, and more. SPIE has a number of professional journals, which publish technical papers. SPIE Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation is the world’s leading event for the development of ground- and space-based telescopes. This includes telescope hardware as well as software, system design, and observational planning. Scientists and engineers from around the world gathered to discuss their research and collaborate on future projects.
SPIE conference proceedings provide the latest in research and technology. At the 2014 conference, Carroll presented his first research paper entitled, “Improving the LSST dithering pattern and cadence for dark energy studies.” His paper was selected for the “Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems” conference session. This session dealt with all of the factors that contribute to successful telescope operations: observational strategies, system designs, creating and optimizing new programs, and handling data collection.
The conference itself consisted mainly of engineers and computer programmers, so it was exciting for Carroll, as an astronomer, to bring more of the background science to the meeting. It was also interesting to see the other side of observations; astronomers understand why they want to observe an object, and this conference has exposed him to the enormous amount of work that goes on behind the scenes in order for this to happen. Carroll feels that this conference has provided him with a rich experience on multiple levels, both as a student and a scientist.