2013-2015 Highlights



The 2014 SACNAS national conference was held in the LA Convention Center (right next to the Staples Center) in Downtown LA from October 16 to 18. The CSUF department of physics and college of natural science and mathematics were well represented. The Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC) sent a strong contingent, with students Adrian Avila-Alvarez, Daniel Vander-Hyde, Joshua Hacker, and Erik Muniz and professors Jocelyn Read and Josh Smith in attendance.

Jocelyn Read presents a talk on neutron star astrophysics at SACNAS 2014.

Daniel Vander-Hyde presented a poster entitled "A comparison of optical scatter from coated and uncoated optics for quantum noise filter cavities," work that relates to implementing squeezed light in the LIGO detectors and will soon be submitted for publication.

Josh Hacker presents a poster on his LIGO-related optics research.



Josh Hacker presented in the graduate students section the poster "An imaging scatterometer for characterizing surface and bulk scatter." At CSUF, Josh continues to upgrade and document the imaging scatterometer.

Josh Smith organized and chaired a Scientific Symposium session, "Seeing and Hearing the Violent Universe with Gravitational Waves and Light" featuring an invited presentation by Jocelyn Read, entitled "Neutron stars and gravitational waves," along with talks by Caltech's Nicholas Smith and Larry Price. The session was attended by 40-50 scientists, mostly students, and ended with a lively Q&A session between the audience and a panel of the three speakers and student representative Daniel Vander-Hyde.



Daniel Vander-Hyde



Geoffrey Lovelace and his GWPAC students did not attend SACNAS 2014, as they were busy assembling the greatly upgraded ORCA computing cluster in the CSUF data center.

GWPAC members are eagerly awaiting SACNAS 2015 in Washington DC!

GWPAC welcomes visiting faculty members for short or extended visits and sabbaticals, and postdoctoral scholars such as Humboldt Fellows.

The Cal State Fullerton Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy Center (GWPAC) was established to conduct research, education, and outreach in gravitational-wave astronomy, physics, and astrophysics. The center currently has three faculty members, one computing specialist, 8 master's students, and 15 undergraduates engaged in research, education and outreach related to gravitational-wave science.

GWPAC is facilitating collaboration among students, faculty members, visitors from around the world, and large external scientific collaborations. We also have strong local connections with gravitational-wave science at Caltech and with science education research at the Fullerton Catalyst Center.

For more information or to plan a visit, contact Joshua Smith at josmith@fullerton.edu


Syracuse University Gravitational-Wave Group members Samantha Usman (undergraduate), Fabian Magaña-Sandoval (grad student), and Duncan Brown (faculty) visited GWPAC from May 19 to 23 2014. Their visit was part of the undergraduate to graduate bridge between the BS/MS program at Fullerton and the Ph.D. program in Syracuse.Throughout the week discussions focused on graduate school opportunities at Syracuse, collaborative research projects, and career mentoring. Students and faculty presented their research, worked together in small groups, and found time to go surfting and visit Disneyland.


Thank you very much Samantha, Fabian, and Duncan. We're looking forward to seeing you all again soon.

csuf syracuse bridge smaller


Lovelace and Read visit KITP


GWPAC faculty members Geoffrey Lovelace and Jocelyn Read spent the week of July 30th at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara. They were there to attend the KITP conference "Rattle and Shine: Gravitational Wave and Electromagnetic Studies of Compact Binary Mergers." The conference brought together astronomers studying gravitational-wave or electromagnetic (optical, radio, x-ray and gamma-ray) signals, to discuss the inspiral and merger physics of compact binary systems: pairs of neutron stars or black holes that radiate gravitational waves until they collide.

Geoffrey and Jocelyn in front of the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics.

On Tuesday morning, Geoffrey gave an invited talk on "Numerical Simulations of Binary Black Holes in the Presence of Spins," and on Wednesday morning, Jocelyn gave an invited talk on "Gravitational-wave Astrophysics with Systems Containing Matter." The talks, posters, and extensive discussions brought together experts from diverse fields, sparking new ideas for research at CSUF.

Jocelyn also realized that she had lost whatever bowling skills she may once have had, but eventually managed to hit a pin in an evening game with other conference attendees. Geoffrey was reintroduced to the joy of driving in Los Angeles traffic.