News - 2013
SSAI has continued its tradition of supporting educational excellence through its sponsorship of five out of 22 American Meteorological Society (AMS) scholarships presented to seniors pursuing careers in atmospheric, oceanic, and hydrologic sciences. The merit-based scholarships are awarded to students with outstanding potential for accomplishment in these fields.
Several of the SSAI scholarships honor the memory of exceptional people who were mentors, leaders, and advocates of educational achievement, such as Dr. Robert S. Fraser, Dr. Yoram Kaufman, and Mr. Bhanwar Lal Bahethi. Their achievements and encouragement of academic success are thereby passed on to a new generation about to take on the important task of caring for the Earth.
Scholarship recipients include students from an array of institutions, including Rutgers University, the University of Georgia, the University of South Alabama, the University of New Mexico, and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. SSAI is proud to contribute to the development of the next generation of STEM experts.
SSAI is pleased to announce that we have once again undergone a successful third-party ISO audit of our Quality Management System. Last year, we were successful in our re-certification audit. This year, a surveillance audit was conducted on September 10 and 11 as Bureau Veritas Certification auditor Dan McBride visited SSAI Headquarters, investigated several process areas, and reviewed documentation. No non-conformances were found, and the reviewer recommended continuation of SSAI’s ISO 9001:2008 certification.
SSAI’s support of the Warwick High School Electric Car Racing Team paid off handsomely as they sprinted to a second-place finish in their very first outing. SSAI software engineer Walter Baskin serves as a mentor for the team, and notes, “I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the students and their faculty advisor.” The racing program promotes the application of engineering, science, and mathematical principles to produce battery-powered electric cars for competition. The local event involved nine teams from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Washington, DC. We are very proud to have encouraged STEM learning for these young people and to have contributed to their success.
SSAI hosted a small celebration for Dr. Sasha Kashlinsky’s Euclid Team on Thursday, May 30. As we reported recently, his team won a 16-year NASA/ESA grant to continue studies of the cosmic infrared background, aimed at finding evidence of the first stars and black holes that formed in the very early universe.
The gathering to celebrate this accomplishment included Sasha and members of his team, other SSAI employees who were instrumental in putting together the proposal, and a few guests from Goddard Space Flight Center.
Nobel laureate Dr. John Mather provided a key perspective for the work that Dr. Kashlinsky, Dr. Mather (GSFC), Dr. Harvey Moseley (GSFC), and Dr. Rick Arendt (UMBC) have been carrying out together for several years. He pointed out that studies like this one, which depend on data sets acquired for other reasons, begin in uncertainty, making it very difficult to attract funding, especially at the commencement of the project. Therefore, the prestige and value of the award, along with the expected quality of the Euclid data, represent a major step and reflect a vote of confidence in the results so far.
SSAI employee Dr. Alexander Kashlinsky has been selected for a 16-year, multimillion-dollar award by NASA and the ESA (European Space Agency) to extend his studies of the CIB (Cosmic Infrared Background), aimed at finding evidence of the first stars and black holes that formed in the very early Universe.
Dr. Kashlinsky’s award is part of the funding for Euclid, an ESA space telescope sky survey mission to map the geometry of the dark universe. The mission will investigate the distance-redshift relationship and the evolution of cosmic structures by measuring shapes and redshifts of galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
Dr. Kashlinsky is Principal Investigator of the LIBRAE (Looking at Infrared Background Radiation Anisotropies with Euclid) project, which will use Euclid data sets to subtract foreground sources from the CIB to observe the fluctuations caused by the black holes and stars that were among the first objects of the Universe, with unprecedented accuracy. LIBRAE’s insights into the early Universe’s contents are unobtainable by other means, making it a project of fundamental importance to cosmology.
Dr. Kashlinsky’s proposed team, which joins the Euclid science consortium, includes co-investigators Richard Arendt (UMBC), Matthew Ashby (Harvard University), Volker Bromm (U. Texas), Harvey Moseley (NASA/GSFC), and Guenther Hasinger (U. Hawaii). Additional information on Euclid and LIBRAE can be found on the Goddard news site: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/news/features/2013/euclid.html.
Photo Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/David Friedlander