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    Personal information
    Contact information
    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:19-02-2014
     Last Modified:20-12-2016 (09:41)
    Job information
     Current job:Research Fellow
     Employment Term:Temp/Contract
     Job location:Europe only
     Date available:within 3months
     Industry:Civil Agencies/International Organizations, Satellite Manufacturers and Subcontractors, Consulting/Engineering Services, Space Tourism
     KeywordsExperimental Astrophysics, systems engineering, project management, data analysis, scientific research, detector development
    • Born on January 14, 1985.
    • Irish Citizen.


    2006 - 09/2010 Ph.D. in Very High-Energy Astrophysics University College Dublin, Ireland.
    Thesis title: VERITAS Sky Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane. Supervisor: Dr. John Quinn.
    2002 - 2006 B Sc. (1st Class Hons.) Physics with Astrophysics NUI, Maynooth.

    Research Experience
    2011 - Present Washington University in Saint Louis Missouri, USA.
                             Research Scientist
    2006 - 2010      University College Dublin Ireland.
    2007 - 2010      VERITAS Gamma-ray Instrument Arizona, USA.
    2006                 ESRANGE Space Center Kiruna, Sweden.
    2004 - 2005      TRACER Cosmic-ray Balloon Project The University of Chicago, USA.

    Teaching Experience
    2008 - 2010 Lead undergraduate demonstrator University College Dublin, Ireland.
                        2nd Year Micro-electronics Laboratory
    2008 - 2009 Undergraduate Tutor University College Dublin, Ireland.
                        1st-year Introduction To Astronomy Course
    2006 - 2007 Undergraduate Lab demonstrator University College Dublin, Ireland.
                        General 1st-year Physics Laboratory

    Distinctions and Awards
    2013 NASA Group Achievement Award NASA.
    2013 Antarctic Service Medal National Science Foundation.
    2007 & 2009 Visiting Scholar Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.
    2004 & 2005 Visiting Student The University of Chicago.
    2003 Stokes Prize Dept. of Theoretical Physics, NUIM.

    Scientific Contributions
    • Super-TIGER is a large-area (5.4 m2) experiment designed to measure ultra-heavy cosmic-ray nuclei utilizing scintillating fiber hodoscopes, Cherenkov counters, and scintillator detectors.
    • The experiment was launched on a heavy-lift stratospheric balloon from Williams Field, Antarctica in December 2012 and flew for a NASA record-breaking flight duration of 55 days.
    • Washington University in St. Louis is one of the principal institutions in a collaboration involving NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech and the University of Minnesota.
    • As the lead Research Scientist in the Super-TIGER group at Washington University, I was involved in the construction of the scintillating fiber hodoscope system used for measuring particle trajectory through the instrument.
    • I also worked in electronics testing (functionality, temperature cycling and vacuum tests) along with integration of the many particle detector systems on the experiment at several NASA facilities.
    • During the construction phase of Super-TIGER, I designated work loads between the research group and liaised between the scientific personnel and technical staff on the project across the participating institutions.
    • I have experience in researching, ordering and assembling parts for use on the Super-TIGER experiment.
    • I was also primarily responsible for the design, testing and construction of the LED calibration system for use with the 288 Photo-Multiplier Tubes utilized on the hodoscope system.
    • Furthermore, I participated in the flight preparation, launch and live-monitoring of the Super-TIGER payload during a 96-day stay in Antarctica in the 2012/2013 season. Also a member of four-person Super-TIGER “recovery team" during 2013/2014 Antarctic season.

    • VERITAS (Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a telescope array, located at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory in southern Arizona, USA.
    • This array utilizes the stereoscopic Imaging Atmospheric Cherenkov Technique to detect sources of very high-energy (VHE) gamma rays in the cosmos.
    • A key VERITAS science project was a survey of the Cygnus region of the galactic plane (67◦ < l < 82◦ and -1 ◦< b < 4◦) in a search for new sources of VHE gamma rays in our galaxy.
    • The Cygnus sky survey was successfully carried out over several periods from 2007 to 2009 with over 140 hours of observations taken (and is expected to provide the most sensitive VHE flux measurements of the Cygnus region to date).
    • My research in VERITAS revolved around the analysis and interpretation of the data from the survey.
    • I also provided rapid data quality monitoring, that provided timely feedback to the on-site observers, to ensure uniform quality coverage across the region.
    • To understand the systematics of the VERITAS array in survey mode, e.g. sensitivity across the focal plane, searches for sources in unknown locations; data analysis of observations of MGROJ1908+06/ HESSJ1908+063 (an extended source of VHE emission) was also undertaken.
    • The results of my work on this source has been presented at a conference (see Publications - Proceedings sections). I also led a successful proposal to the VERITAS Time Allocation Committee for deeper observations of this source.
    • My research work involved spending several months on-site at the VERITAS array in southern Arizona where I worked on VERITAS maintenance such as alignment of the mirror systems of the telescopes, optical Point-Spread Function and telescope pointing data taking, single photo-electron calibration measurements, fabrication of light cones and general site up-keep.
    • I also undertook numerous solo observing shifts on the Whipple 10-meter Cherenkov telescope and group shifts on the VERITAS array, gaining excellent experience for ensuring safe and successful data-taking operations through live-time monitoring of the experiment’s functionality while also providing rapid responses to any occurring difficulties with any sub-systems.
    • I have developed C++/ROOT code to generate flux values and maps for the entire survey region (or any other VERITAS observation) with aims of incorporation into the standard VERITAS analysis software package.
    This will be able to provide flux measurements/upper limits on the many potential VHE sources located within the surveyed region, or for use with any VERITAS observation.
    • Other work includes the estimation of the statistical trial factor involved in the search for gamma-ray signals in such a large region.
    • TRACER is a balloon-borne experiment that is currently the largest cosmic-ray detector to fly above the atmosphere.
    • It uses plastic scintillators, acrylic Cerenkov counters, specific ionization in gases and a Transition radiation detector (TRD) to measure the charge and energy of individual heavy cosmic-ray nuclei from 1010 to 1015 eV.
    • TRACER was built at the University of Chicago (UC) and has provided the most comprehensive measurements of heavy cosmic-ray nuclei to date.
    • I was a Research Assistant at UC for three summers (2004/05/06) working on the refurbishment of the TRACER TRD.
    • I helped design, build and commission a new gas supply system that supplies the 1000 liter TRD with a continual gas flow on the ground and allows for the provision of injecting gas into the TRD during flight.
    • In 2006 I joined the TRACER team at the launch-site in the ESRANGE Space Center in the Swedish Arctic,
    where we spent two months preparing the payload for flight. I was involved in the critical preflight gas-purge procedure, where the TRD was rapidly filled with flight grade Xenon.
    • After launch I undertook observing shifts, whereby the instrument was continually monitored via satellite from the launch site.
    • The results from this flight of TRACER have been presented at a conference (see Publications - Proceedings sections) and provide the most accurate measurements of the light to medium elements to date.

    Journal Articles as Co-Author
    Total Articles: 39
    Total Co-Authors: 95
    "Discovery of TeV Gamma-ray Emission Toward Supernova Remnant SNR G78.2+2.1", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 770, 93 (2013)
    "Constraints on Cosmic Rays, Magnetic Fields, and Dark Matter from Gamma-Ray Observations of the Coma Cluster of Galaxies with VERITAS and Fermi", T. Arlen et al., ApJ 757, 123 (2012)
    "Multiwavelength Observations of the AGN 1ES 0414+009 with VERITAS, FERMI-LAT, SWIFT-XRT, AND MDM", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 755, 118 (2012)
    "VERITAS Observations of the Nova in V407 Cygni", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 754, 77 (2012)
    "VERITAS Deep Observations of the Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxy Segue 1", E. Aliu et al., Phys. Rev. D 85 (2012), 062001.
    "Multiwavelength Observations of the Previously Unidentified Blazar RXJ0648.7+1516", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 742 (2011), 127.
    "Detection of Pulsed Gamma Rays Above 100 GeV from the Crab Pulsar", E. Aliu et al., Science 334 (2011), 69.
    "Discovery of High-Energy and Very High-Energy γ-Ray Emission from the Blazar RBS 0413", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 750 (2012), 94.
    "VERITAS Observations of Gamma-Ray Bursts Detected by Swift", V. Acciari et al., ApJ 743 (2011), 62. "VERITAS Observations of the Unusual Extragalactic Transient SWIFT J164449.3+573451", E. Aliu et al., ApJ 738 (2011), L30.
    "Multiwavelength Observations of the VHE Blazar 1ES 2344+514", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 738 (2011), 169.
    "TeV and Multi-wavelength Observations of Mrk421 in 2006-2008", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 738 (2011), 25.
    "VERITAS Observations of the TeV binary LS 1 +61 303 during 2008-2010", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 738 (2011), 3.
    "Gamma-ray observations of the Be/pulsar binary 1A0535+262 during a giant X-ray outburst", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 733 (2011), 96.
    "Detection of TeV Gamma Ray Emission from Tycho’s Supernova Remnant", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 730 (2011), L20.
    "Spectral Energy Distribution of Markarian 501: Quiescent State vs. Extreme Outburst ", V.A. Acciari et al., ApJ 729 (2011), 2.
    "Insights into the High-energy γ-ray Emission of Markarian 501 from Extensive Multifrequency Observations", A.A. Abdo et al, ApJ 727 (2011) 129.
    "Multi-wavelength Observations of the Flaring Gamma-ray Blazar 3C 66A in 2008 October", A.A. Abdo et al, ApJ 726 (2011) 43.
    "VERITAS Search for VHE Gamma-ray Emission from Dwarf Spheroidal Galaxies", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 720 (2011), 1174.
    "Discovery of Very High Energy γ-ray Emmission from the SNR G54.1+0.3 ", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 719 (2010), L69.
    "VERITAS 2008-2009 Monitoring of the Variable Gamma-ray Source M 87", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 716 (2010) 819.
    "The Discovery of γ-Ray Emission from the Blazar RGB J0710+591 ", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 715 (2010) L49.
    "Observations of the Shell-type Supernova Remnant Cassiopeia A at TeV Energies with VERITAS ", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 714 (2010) 163.
    "Discovery of Variability in the Very High Energy Gamma-Ray Emission of 1ES 1218+304 with VERITAS", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 709 (2010) 163.
    "A connection between star formation activity and cosmic rays in the starburst galaxy M82", V. A. Acciari et al, Nature 462 (2010) 770.
    "Discovery of Very High Energy Gamma Rays from PKS 1424+240 and Multi-wavelength Constraints on its z", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 708 (2010) 100.
    "Multiwavelength Observations of a TeV-Flare from W Comae", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 707 (2009) 612. "VERITAS Upper Limit on the VHE Emission from the Radio Galaxy NGC 1275", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJ 706 (2009) 2.
    "Simultaneous Multiwavelength Observations of Markarian 421 During Outburst", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJL 703 (2009) 1.
    "Detection of Extended VHE Gamma Ray Emission from G106.3+2.7 with VERITAS", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJL 703 (2009) 1.
    "VERITAS Observations of the gamma-Ray Binary LS I +61 303", V.A. Acciari et al, ApJ 679 (2008) 2. "Observation of gamma-ray emission from the galaxy M87 above 250 GeV with VERITAS ", V.A. Acciari et al, ApJ 679 (2008) 1.
    "Multiwavelength Observations of LS I +61303 with Veritas, Swift, and RXTE", V.A. Acciari et al, ApJL 700 (2009) 2.
    "Observation of Extended Very High Energy Emission from the Supernova Remnant IC 443 with VERITAS ", V.A. Acciari et al, ApJL 698 (2009), 2.
    "Evidence for Long-Term Gamma-Ray and X-Ray Variability from the Unidentified TeV Source HESS J0632+0", V. A. Acciari, ApJL 698 (2009), 2.
    "VERITAS Observations of a Very High Energy Gamma-ray Flare from the Blazar 3C 66A", V. A. Acciari et. al, ApJL 693 (2009), 2.
    "VERITAS observations of the BL Lac 1ES 1218+304", V. A. Acciari et. al, ApJ 695 (2009).
    "The June 2008 flare of Markarian 421 from optical to TeV energies", I. Donnarumma et. al, ApJL 691 (2009), 1.
    "Discovery of Very High Energy Gamma-ray Radiation from the BL Lac 1ES 0806+524", V. A. Acciari et al, ApJL 690 (2009), 2.
    "VERITAS Discovery of >200 GeV Gamma-Ray Emission from the IBL W Comae", V. A. Acciari et. al, ApJL 684 (2008).
    "Observation of gamma-ray emission from the galaxy M87 above 250 GeV with VERITAS", V. A. Acciari et. al, ApJ 679 (2008), 1.
    • As corresponding author
    – "The Super-TIGER Scintillating Fiber Hodoscope", 33rd International Cosmic Ray Conference, Rio De Janeiro 2013.
    – "The Super-TIGER Scintillating Fiber Hodoscope", 32nd International Cosmic Ray Conference, Beijing 2011.
    – "New Measurements of the Composition and Energy Spectra of Cosmic-Ray Nuclei with TRACER", 32nd International Cosmic Ray Conference, Beijing 2011.
    – "The VERITAS Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane", 8th INTEGRAL Workshop - "The Restless Gamma-ray Universe", Dublin Castle, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.
    – "VERITAS Observations of MGRO J1908+06/HESS J1908+063", Proceedings of the 4th International Meeting on High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy. AIP Conference Proceedings, Volume 1085, pp. 301-303 (2008), John E Ward for the VERITAS collaboration.
    • See mainmenu-105 for a full list of proceedings as VERITAS co-author.
    Conferences and Schools attended
    • WIPAC - Cosmic Ray Anisotropy Workshop (CRA13), September 2013, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
    • 33nd International Cosmic Ray Conference, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, July 2013.
    – Presented Poster: "The Super-TIGER Scintillating Fiber Hodoscope".
    • American Physical Society (APS), April Meeting 2012, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
    • 32nd International Cosmic Ray Conference, Beijing, China, August 2011.
    – Presented Poster: "The Super-TIGER Scintillating Fiber Hodoscope".
    • 8th INTEGRAL Workshop - "The Restless Gamma-ray Universe", Dublin Castle, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland, October 2010.
    • 3rd International Summer School on Astroparticle Physics "NIJMEGEN09", Nijmegen, The Netherlands, August 2009.
    • 4th International Meeting on High Energy Gamma-Ray Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany, July 2008.
    – Presented Poster: "VERITAS Observations of MGRO J1908+06/HESS J1908+063".
    • 30th International Cosmic Ray Conference, Merida, Mexico, July 2007.

    • October 2013: "The SuperTIGER Experiment and Galactic Cosmic-Ray Origins", McGill University - Invited Speaker, November 2013, Montreal, Canada, USA.
    • September 2013: "Super-TIGER and the search for Galactic Cosmic-Ray Origins", WIPAC - Cosmic Ray Anisotropy Workshop (CRA13), September 2013, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.
    • April 2013: "The Super-TIGER Instrument to Probe Galactic Cosmic-Ray Origins", American Physical Society (APS), April Meeting 2013, Denver, Colorado, USA.
    • April 2013: "Super-TIGER and the search for Galactic Cosmic-Ray Origins", William Jewell College Invited Colloquium, April 2013, Liberty, Missouri, USA.
    • April 2012: "The Super-TIGER Instrument to Probe Galactic Cosmic-Ray Origins", American Physical Society (APS), April Meeting 2012, Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
    • August 2011: "ICRC Beijing 2011 - Report from OG Sessions", McDonnell Center for the Spaces Sciences ICRC review, Washington University in Saint Louis, St. Louis, USA.
    • October 2010: "The VERITAS Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane", Viva Voce (thesis defense) public talk, School of Physics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.
    • September 2010: "The VERITAS Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane", 8th INTEGRAL Workshop - "The Restless Gamma-ray Universe", Dublin Castle, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.
    • June 2010: "Flux Map of the Cygnus Region - Current Status", VERITAS Summer Collaboration Meeting, Cork, Rep. of Ireland.
    • February 2010: "The VERITAS Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane", VERITAS Irish-members Collaboration Meeting, School of Physics, National University of Ireland - Galway, Galway, Rep. of Ireland.
    • December 2009: "The VERITAS Survey of the Cygnus Region of the Galactic Plane", Astronomy Day Seminar, School of Physics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.
    • June 2008: "VERITAS Observations of MGRO J1908+06/HESS J1908+063", VERITAS Summer Collaboration Meeting, School of Physics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.
    • March 2008: "The Search for Galactic TeV Gamma-Ray Sources With VERITAS", Astronomical Science Group of Ireland Spring Meeting, Armagh Observatory, Co. Armagh, United Kingdom.
    • March 2008: "Very High-Energy Sky Survey of the Cygnus Region using VERITAS", Stage 1 PhD Transfer talk, School of Physics, University College Dublin, Dublin, Rep. of Ireland.

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