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AEP Ph.D. Candidate Nicholas Cothard receives NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship

Friday, April 21, 2017

Nicholas Cothard with the ACT (Atacama Cosmology Telescope), on the mountain Cerro Toco, in the Chilean Atacama Desert.

Nicholas Cothard, a second-year Ph.D. student in Applied Physics, has been awarded a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship (NSTRF), a fully-funded graduate fellowship that supports his research for a year and is renewable up to four years. Cothard’s research project involves making anti-reflection coatings for telescope optics and other astronomical spectrometers. He is also researching new techniques to read data from large arrays of cryogenic, superconducting detectors. Much of the research is conducted using the Cornell Nanoscale Science and Technology Facility (CNF).

The NSTRF grant also provides funds for Cothard to travel to conferences and to NASA centers for a Visiting Technologist Experience, where he will have the opportunity to collaborate with NASA scientists and engineers to enhance his research.

Cothard’s research is deeply involved with a national telescope project in the Atacama Desert in Chile, called the Atacama Cosmology Telescope (ACT). Now in its third generation of development, ACT is a collaboration involving many universities, headed by Princeton University. Products of his research may also be used in new spectrometers being developed for NASA’s airborne telescope, SOFIA.

“I am so excited to have received the NSTRF” said Cothard. “It’s going to enable my development of these new and unique technologies.”

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