Physics Graduate Student Awarded NASA Grant

Physics Graduate Student Awarded NASA Grant
Photo Submitted

Lacey West, a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow in physics, and her advisor, assistant professor Bret Lehmer, have won a Future Investigators in NASA Earth and Space Science and Technology grant. The award provides West with a $35,000 stipend and an additional $10,000 for research, tuition and travel expenses.

The fourth-year doctoral student was one of only 120 students in the nation selected for the award, which can be renewed for up to three years.

West's research focuses on X-ray binary systems (XRBs), which contain compact objects (such as a black holes or neutron stars) that accrete material from companion stars. As material flows from the companion star onto the compact object, it forms a disc surrounding the compact object and becomes so hot that it emits X-ray light. West uses X-ray data from space-based telescopes, such as XMM-Newton, NuSTAR, and Chandra, to study the behaviors, formation and evolution of these systems in other galaxies. Specifically, West will be detailing how the accretion properties of XRBs vary with the environment in which they are found (e.g., newly born versus ancient XRBs).

X-ray binary studies are important to a broad range of astrophysical problems, as they are thought to have played an important role in the development of the early universe. XRBs can also help us understand the black holes and neutron stars they contain, which can be difficult to observe in non-accreting systems, and are often the progenitors to other more exotic objects in the universe, such as millisecond pulsars, gamma-ray bursts and gravitational wave-producing sources.

A native of Missouri, West holds a bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Missouri. She is advised by Lehmer, an assistant professor in the Department of Physics.


Lacey West, graduate assistant
Department of Physics


Jissel Esparza Saucedo Named Inaugural Mitchell Williams Legal Diversity Fellow

Jissel Esparza Saucedo has been named the Mitchell Williams Legal Diversity Fellow in recognition of her consistent service, significant leadership potential and consistent work to create an equitable playing field.

Merrill Discusses the Association Between Social Media Use, Personality Structure and Depression

Renae Merrill, a doctoral student in the U of A Public Policy Program, discusses the association between social media use, personality structure and depression on the latest Short Talks episode.

Kaman Serving as Member of Association's Membership and Community Portfolio Committee

Tulin Kaman, an assistant professor of mathematics, has been invited to serve as a three-year term on the Membership & Community Portfolio Committee of the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Cybersecurity Reminders After Recent Increase in Phishing Scams

The U of A IT Security team has seen a recent uptick in phishing attacks. Here are some cybersecurity reminders for students, faculty and staff to help protect personal and university data.

Major Equipment Grants Workshop

The first research training workshops of the semester will be at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 8, and will cover the major equipment grant opportunities offered by several federal agencies.

News Daily