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Meet the AAS Keynote Speakers: Dr. Colleen Wilson-Hodge

2 Jan 2019, 16:47 UTC
Meet the AAS Keynote Speakers: Dr. Colleen Wilson-Hodge
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In this series of posts, we sit down with a few of the keynote speakers of the 233rd AAS meeting to learn more about them and their research. You can see a full schedule of their talks here!
Figure 1. Dr. Colleen Wilson-Hodge, research scientist at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (Credit: NASA)Imagine being one of the first handful of people who knew about one of the most momentous astronomy discoveries in recent history — the detection of gravitational waves from two colliding neutron stars. Dr. Colleen Wilson-Hodge, Principal Investigator (PI) of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope’s Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) and the #AAS233 HEAD Rossi prize recipient, was one of this handful. GBM’s alert system triggered on a gamma ray burst detection around 7:00am Central Time on August 17th, 2017. Not coincidentally, the alert system of the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) had triggered just 1.7 seconds earlier. The nearly-concurrent triggers caught the attention of a LIGO scientist, prompting a “wake up” email to the GBM team. What followed was a day full of “frantically checking my phone at break…to see what was happening,” recounted Dr. Wilson-Hodge, since she was stuck in a training all day. She recalled many ...

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