I am a sceptic of relativity theory and am trying to become a believer. As far as I know (about this theory), time slows down when some one travels at the speed of light. What about blind people ? Will this effect happen for them as well ?.. I am curious because blind people have nothing to do with light.
Professor Susan Lamb received her bachelor's degree in physics and applied mathematics from Queen Mary College, London University, in 1969 and her D. Phil. in astrophysics from Oxford University in 1973. She is presently an associate professor of Physics and of Astronomy at the University of Illinois.
A theoretical and observational astrophysicist, Susan Lamb research interests are in extragalactic astronomy. She has studied interacting and colliding galaxies and focused on the consequences for global star formation and the evolution of galaxies, as well as the triggering of active galactic nuclei (AGN) and the evolution of ‘dark matter’ halos around galaxies. This work has involved both computational studies using national supercomputers, and collaboration with other investigators in obtaining and interpreting observations of colliding galaxies. She has now embarked on a computational study of colliding galaxies that will include a full representation of the temperature structure of the interstellar gas, as well as the possibility of following the chemistry in the gas as galaxies collide, merge, and evolve. This allows a direct comparison between the predictions of collision simulations and a range of observations of colliding and merging systems, such as observations of the hot (million degree) phase of the interstellar gas, as obtained from the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, optical observations of star-forming regions from the Hubble Space Telescope and ground-based telescopes, and 21-cm radio observations of neutral hydrogen. The ultimate goal of this work is to link the outcome of collisions and mergers of galaxies to the evolution of galaxies and the history of star formation in the Universe; to the redistribution of ‘dark matter’ in clusters and groups of galaxies; and to examine the contribution of these processes to the generation of the million-degree gas observed to exist around some galaxies and to dominate emission from clusters of galaxies.
Global Star Formation in Impact-induced Starburst Galaxies
The first impact of two colliding galaxies takes place on a time scale of approximately 10^8 years, the dynamical time scale. Within this period it is anticipated that much star formation will be triggered as a result of density increases and shocks in the gas which are produced by inflow to the nuclear regions. We are currently comparing our array of simulations of galaxy collisions to observations of collisionally produced starburst galaxies (both our own observations and those of others) and investigating the resulting implications for both the stellar and gaseous components.
Active Galactic Nuclei, Dense Stellar Systems, and Galactic Environment
We are investigating a self-consistent model on a large range of scales to understand the processes leading to nuclear activity in galaxies. Current observations support the view that interactions between galaxies may be crucial in triggering episodes of activity in some active galactic nuclei. Interactions also trigger some starbursts, and we are investigating the relationship between these two phenomena. We employ numerical simulations of colliding galaxies and analytical studies of the physics of the central regions of galaxies to obtain a detailed model that can be compared to observations of these systems.
I have a long-standing interest in undergraduate education, the issues surrounding support of students in their chosen programs of study, and the retention of students in degree programs at the University. My interest has been demonstrated over the years by mentoring and instruction of undergraduates working in my research group on yearlong projects, interaction with students in formal classes, teaching of Freshmen Discovery Classes, and through participation in various relevant UIUC Senate committees. For four years (2005-9), I was Chief Advisor to the Engineering Physics undergraduate students.
I have a particular interest in the support of, and retention of women and other minority students in Math, Science, and Engineering programs. Earlier, I was one of the co-founders of a chapter of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) here on Campus and a supporter and participant in WIMSE, the “Living Learning” housing program for women in math, science, and engineering. However, many of my efforts have been in physics and astronomy, to support students and researchers at all levels through a variety of formal programs and less formal activities, such as “Women-in-Physics” potluck dinners and other gatherings.
Incorporation of international study and travel into the undergraduate experience is something that the University is currently pursuing vigorously. I wish to help facilitate the planning of a program that would involve the faculty in designing and implementing new student study-abroad programs that may have only a small number of students involved, and that would be well supervised academically. Many of our best students do not opt to study abroad because the contents and availability of the overseas courses are uncertain, and the experience is likely to delay graduation by a semester or more. I was “Study Abroad” advisor for Engineering Physics for four years and, as such, I fielded questions from both our students studying abroad and those who come to study with us. Some of these latter have been very closely advised on what courses to take before they arrive, and the course contents have been vetted to determine if they fit with the perceived student needs. It appears to me that this University may wish to move in the direction of closer academic supervision of our students abroad.
Lastly, I am very interested in discussions with others about how best to reach higher levels of learning and enjoyment of learning within the student body. I know that others have different experiences and backgrounds and can bring interesting perspectives when considering what to try, and how best to aim a project. I enjoy participating in, and leading “brainstorming” sessions to develop ideas and modes of implementation. I appreciate that the specific requirements for a good education in the various fields vary. However, I perceive that students grounded in workable living or social groups, situations with a strong academic focus, can be a big help to any of these programs. For the students, meeting people with diverse experiences and backgrounds, travel abroad, and a range of interactions with people on a variety of topics of mutual interest on an almost daily basis, can provide an undergraduate with an educational experience that is much richer than can be obtained within the classroom alone.
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