Recently, Barrett Physics and Computer Science major Jacob Ward attended the 225th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Seattle Washington. This trip was funded by the FURI Travel Grant.
At the conference, Jacob presented his research, “Analysis of Fe V and Ni V Wavelength Standards in the Vacuum Ultraviolet.”
Jacob’s presentation shared his research on wavelength standards for different ions in the vacuum ultraviolet. The opportunity to share his work as well as the prospect of his research’s application in the astronomical community was his main motivation for attending the conference.
“My experience has reinvigorated my motivation to continue on with my research as many members of the conference expressed an interest in my work,” Jacob said.
The conference covered a wide range of topics, and many government and private institutions such as NASA and ESA were present. This year’s conference was especially important because it took place during the International Year of Light.
“In remembrance of the 1915 publication by Albert Einstein regarding general relativity, […] the conference hosted many sessions on relativistic physics,” Jacob explained.
“The annual meeting of the American Astronomical Society provides an opportunity for astronomers and astrophysicists to meet and discuss the status of the astronomy field,” reported Jacob.
The conference even had its own android app where attendees could plan their schedules, set reminders, and access maps of the event.
The conference consisted of many broad-topic sessions, as well as many topical sessions discussing more specific subdivisions within the studies. These topical sessions were Jacob’s favorite feature of the conference.
“The smaller sessions provide more audience interaction and allowed researchers to discuss presented work in small groups between talks,” he said.
When looking back on his experience, Jacob wished he had been aware of the friendly and helpful staff available to him from the beginning.
His advice to students regarding conferences such as the one he attended is to attend one the moment you’re ready. Once there, he advises to “be social, be professional, and enjoy the experience.”
Going to a conference? Have research-related travel needs? Apply for the Undergraduate Research Travel Grant!