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Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

 
BROWNSVILLE, TEXASOCTOBER 4, 2013 The Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy at The University of Texas at Brownsville will commemorate 10 years of research with the CGWA Science Festival from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 12 at the Student Union.
 
“Science festivals are designed to engage the community through inspiring celebrations of the fascinating world of science and technology,” said Dr. Joey Shapiro Key, Director of Education and Outreach for the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. “The community is invited to participate in fun events and interact with scientists and engineers showcasing art and science collaborations and innovative ways to communicate science topics. We want everyone to have access to the exciting science work that is happening right here in our community.”
 
The Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy was developed in 2003 with a $6 million grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The National Science Foundation awarded a $5 million Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology grant to continue the center’s mission from November 2012 to October 2017. 
 
“The grants under the umbrella of the center have helped expand the department by financially supporting the recruitment of highly qualified faculty members from fast growing areas of the discipline,” said Dr. Soma Mukherjee, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology. “This, in turn, has helped recruit high quality students who have in many ways increased the visibility of UTB. CGWA’s multi-faced initiatives have made us one of the leaders in gravitational wave astronomy in the state and in the nation.”
 
Since its founding the center has generated more than $30 million in federal funding through faculty members and grants. The center generates at least 50 publications in international refereed journals a year. The center supports 13 faculty members, seven doctoral students, 20 master’s degree students and 11 undergraduate students.
 
“We are immensely grateful that an entity like the CGWA has existed,” said Mukherjee. “The center ushers in tremendous leverage by promoting gravitational wave and related research in a systematic and coordinated manner.”
 
The celebration will include music, food, remarks from university and administrators along with Dr. Peter R. Saulson, Department Chair and Martin A. Pomerantz ’37 Professor of Physics at Syracuse University and Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez, Professor of Physics at Louisiana State University; UTB’s Society of Physics Students performing a Physics Circus and solar observing at the Nompuewenu Observatory.
 
Moises Castillo, a graduate student in physics from Los Fresnos, has created in past Physics Circus performances a fire tornado at least 10 feet tall using blowers, flammable liquid and a large metal tub to show oxygen’s interaction.
 
“We love science and want to share our passion with the future generations of mankind,” said Castillo. “We aim to excite everyone of all ages about science. The next Einstein may well be among us! We go out to schools upon request and perform large scale physics demonstrations.”
 
For more information on the event contact the Center for Gravitational Wave Astronomy at 956-882-6778.
 

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