The University of Colorado Boulder established the Charles A. Barth scholarship for undergraduate space research in 2013 to honor his lasting legacy of teaching and mentoring of the next generation of space researchers. Several undergraduate students with focused studies in space research are supported by this scholarship each year.
Dr. Charles A. Barth served as the director of the university’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics from 1965 to 1992, and under his guidance, LASP sent science instruments to every planet in the solar system. In addition to having a long and productive research career, Barth left a lasting legacy through his teaching and mentoring, through which he generously sharing his knowledge and passion for exploration with hundreds of CU students. Barth was committed to hands-on education and training that included students in every step of a research project or NASA mission development, a novel approach that continues at LASP to this day.
This year’s 2022 awardees include four outstanding CU Boulder undergraduate students.
Samuel Aberbook, Class of 2022, Major in physics, is working with LASP research associate and CU Boulder assistant professor Paul Hayne. They are working to understand the surface temperature of Jupiter’s Galilean moon, Europa, through theoretical modeling work and analysis of data from NASA’s Galileo mission and ground-based telescopes such as Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA). “With this opportunity, I have learned so much about how to approach research and what a professional career in the sciences entails,” said Aberbook.
Jay Cessna, Class of 2023, Major in astronomy with a minor in applied mathematics, is working with LASP research associate and CU Boulder associate professor David Brain on research regarding if magnetic fields are necessary for planetary habitability. They are studying atmospheric ion escape processes from weakly magnetized planets. “I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to learn and grow as a scientist in a field that I am passionate about with the help of my mentors and peers,” said Cessna.
Shivank Chadda, Class of 2024, double major in physics and mathematics, is working with LASP research associate and CU Boulder assistant professor David Malaspina. They are studying interstellar dust properties using data from the WAVES electric field instrument on NASA’s Wind spacecraft. “Being able to do research as an undergrad provides the opportunity to learn skills like coding, communication, and thinking out of the box. All of this is elevated when you are paired with a great team,” said Chadda.
Patricio Ramos, Class of 2023, Major in aerospace engineering sciences, is working with LASP research associate and CU Boulder assistant professor Lauren Blum on developing the Dual Aperture Relativistic Telescope (DART) instrument. DART will fly on an upcoming CubeSat mission to make measurements of energetic electrons in Earth’s magnetosphere. “Working with the very best in my field has enabled me to develop not only my engineering skills, but also learn how to work together as a team, communicate technical details, fulfill product requirements, and meet tight deadlines,” said Ramos.
Written by: Aimee Merkel – LASP Science Communications Specialist and Chair of the Charles A. Barth scholarship committee