News Details

September 21, 2015

Professor Receives Part of a $20 Million Grant from National Science Foundation

Dr. Tracey DeLaney, assistant professor of the Physics and Engineering Department at West Virginia Wesleyan College, is part of a research consortium that received a $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation. Dr. DeLaney and two Wesleyan students will receive $11,600 annually for the next five years to study gravitational wave astrophysics.   

Gravitational waves are ripples in space-time produced when a very massive object abruptly slows down, speeds up, or changes direction.  They are a key prediction of Einstein’s theory of General Relativity and have been demonstrated through measurements of the orbital decay of binary pulsars.  A pulsar is the rapidly-rotating core of a massive star left behind after the star exploded.

Dr. DeLaney and her students will work with astronomers at West Virginia University to observe pulsar systems with the Green Bank Telescope, develop computer algorithms to search for gravitational waves within these signals, and perform follow-up observations with other telescopes, such as the Very Large Array and the Chandra X-ray Observatory. 

Dr. DeLaney received her B.S. and M.S. in Physics in 1994 and 1998 from the New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology.  She earned her Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 2004 from the University of Minnesota where she worked on supernova remnants, or the remains of star explosions.  She continued her supernova remnant work as a post-doctoral associate at Harvard from 2004-2006 and then at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2006-2009. 


Wesleyan's School of Science Department of Physics and Engineering offers the B.S. and B.A. in physics, a B.S. in applied physics, and a B.S. in Petroleum and Natural Gas Geophysics, as well as 3/2 engineering program. For more information, please contact the Office of Admission at 1-800-722-9933.

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