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Dana Boltuch

Research: My research is doing gamma-ray astronomy with the VERITAS collaboration.  VERITAS (the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is an Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescope (IACT) located in southern Arizona.  Gamma-rays, like all light, travel through space in a straight line.  Some of the gamma-ray photons produced by an object in space will intersect Earth, allowing us to "see" the object they came from in gamma-ray light.  Although gamma rays themselves cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere, when a gamma ray hits the upper atmosphere, it decays into a shower of particles and visible photons that travel along the same path as the incoming gamma ray. 

This visible light is what IACTs see, allowing us to observe gamma ray sources from the ground. Gamma rays are the most energetic form of radiation in the universe, far more energetic than visible light.  Because they are so energetic, they can only be produced in extreme environments that are impossible to recreate on Earth.  Gamma rays are seen from the far reaches of the universe in things like quasars and gamma-ray bursts, but they can also be produced by sources within the Milky Way.  Some examples of galactic gamma ray sources are black holes, supernovae, and pulsars.  These galactic sources of gamma rays are the focus of my work with the VERITAS collaboration.

Developed Class Material
Research: PPT, PDF ________Teaching: PPT, PDF

Lectures (PPT): coming soon
Lectures (PDF):
coming soon

Additional Information
Contact: dboltuch@udel.edu

In the classroom: I have long had an interest in education and teaching.  As an undergraduate, I did research in Physics education and helped to develop a curriculum for a portable planetarium to teach high school students about radio astronomy.  Now, as a graduate student, I have had further experiences in the classroom through my participation in the GK-12 program.  During the 2008-2009 school year, I have worked with teacher Jessica Jackson, as well as teacher Timothy Brewer and fellow graduate student Joshua Wickman, to develop curricular materials to teach 11th grade Integrated Science students about multiwavelength astronomy and energy.  We have also investigated the effectiveness of alternative testing methods at revealing student understanding with students in an inclusion special education model.