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2008 ASP Annual Award Recipients

Robert J. Trumpler Award
Anjum Mukadam
Hubble Post-doctoral Fellow
University of Washington at Seattle

Astronomers owe a huge debt to the builders of the instruments they use, from the VLA to the Chandra X-ray Observatory and the Sloan camera. It is therefore particularly fitting that Anjum Mukadam is the recipient of the 2008 ASP Robert J. Trumpler Award, which is for a recent PhD thesis considered unusually important to astronomy. This award is in recognition of both her skill in constructing a fast and versatile photometer and her success in using that instrument to study pulsating white dwarfs and other stellar phenomena.

As a graduate student at the University of Texas and in collaboration with Dr. Ed Nather, Anjum assisted with the construction of Argos, a fast, time-series CCD photometer for use at the prime focus of the 2.1-meter McDonald telescope. She then used Argos to probe stars, including white dwarfs, using the technique of asteroseismology. In the process, she doubled the number of known pulsating white dwarfs. Just as helioseismology has enabled us to study the physics of the solar interior, the asteroseismology of white dwarfs is opening up the possibility of studying the physics of condensed matter using stars as laboratories. More than a dozen scientific papers have resulted from her graduate work, and as a bonus, Argos is useful for the detection of extrasolar planets that transit their parent star.

After her graduate work at the University of Texas, Anjum Mukadam won a Hubble Fellowship, which she took to the University of Washington.