Joseph Taylor Graduate Student Fellowship
Jon Gudmundsson and Alexandra (Sasha) Rahlin share the inaugural award of the Joseph Taylor Graduate Student Fellowship. Jon and Alexandra work together and with colleagues on measuring and understanding the cosmic microwave background (CMB), the faint remnant radiation from the Big Bang. Their research uses the CMB to probe fundamental problems physics that blur the distinction between cosmology and particle physics. More specifically they work on SPIDER, a stratospheric balloon-borne millimeter wavelength polarimeter that is designed to image the temperature and polarization anisotropy in the CMB with unprecedented accuracy and sensitivity on scales larger than a half degree. SPIDER's primary goal is to measure or limit the presence of gravitation radiation generated in the very early universe. SPIDER is scheduled to fly from Antarctica on its maiden voyage in late 2013 or early 2014. In addition, both Jon and Alexandra work on the analysis of data from the HFI instrument aboard the Planck satellite. They are members of Prof. Jones's experimental cosmology group.