The award gives Professor Cheng $152,689 over three years to support her project entitled A Spectroscopic Survey of Circumstellar Gas in Lambda Boo Stars.

Pat outside McCarthy Hall near the campus' popular Planet Walk exhibit she helped designPat outside McCarthy Hall near the campus' popular Planet Walk exhibit she helped designPat has extensive experience in conducting research in the areas of debris disks and extra-solar planets. She plans to determine the percentage of Lambda Boo stars with both circumstellar dust and gas, and to analyze statistically the group properties of this class of stars.

With these results, Pat will be looking to better discriminate between current theories explaining the Lambda Boo phenomenon and give better insight into planet formation. The grant will provide support for two student research assistants each year. Pat is also the principle investigator of another current grant from NASA.

These NSF grants are always highly competitive, as the program supports astrophysics research at a wide variety of institutions in every discipline of astrophysics. This year the competition reached record levels, with fewer than one in six proposals submitted to the Astronomy & Astrophysics Research Grants program accepted for funding.

Congratulations Pat!

One of Pat's hangouts: Mt Stromlo Observatory in AustraliaOne of Pat's hangouts: Mt Stromlo Observatory in Australia