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Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street, Troy, New York 12180-3590 USA

(518) 276-6310
Fax: (518) 276-6680

Heidi Newberg
Heidi Jo Newberg

Professor of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy


(518) 276-2652

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Ph.D., University of California, Berkley.

Career Highlights:

Newberg has worked in many areas of astronomy over the course of her career. She did her Ph.D. with the Berkeley Automated Supernova Search, which measured the supernova rates as a function of supernova type in Virgo-distance galaxies; and the Supernova Cosmology Project (SCP), which is measured the cosmological parameters Omega and Lambda using the light curves of distant supernovae. She shared the Gruber Cosmology Prize for her work with SCP.

She helped to build the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), which imaged ~10,000 square degrees of the sky in five optical filters, and obtained over a million spectra of galaxies. She initiated the Sloan Extension for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (SEGUE) project in SDSS II, which obtained spectra for 250,000 Galactic stars.

She has published papers in diverse areas of galactic and extragalactic astronomy, including: supernova phenomenology, measuring cosmological parameters from supernovae, galaxy photometry, color selection of QSOs, properties of stars, astronomy education, and the structure of our galaxy.

Newberg was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society "For her contributions to our understanding of the structure of the Milky Way galaxy and the Universe, and for the development of software and hardware infrastructure for measuring and extracting meaningful information from large astronomical survey data sets."

Research Interests:

Newberg is the head of Participants in LAMOST, US (PLUS), which is collaborating with the Chinese LAMOST project, which has so far obtained ~2 million spectra of Galactic stars, using a new 4m-class telescope that can obtain spectra for 4000 objects at the same time. She also runs MilkyWay@home, a volunteer computing platform that supplies about a PetaFLOPS of computing power (equivalent to the largest supercomputers) to her research projects, which include finding the best model of the Milky Way and running n-body simulations of Milky Way evolution.

Newberg’s current research is primarily related to understanding the structure and evolution of our own galaxy through using stars as tracers of the Galactic halo and disks. These stars in turn are used to trace the density distribution of dark matter in the Milky Way.

Selected Publications:

1. “Kinematic Discovery of a Stellar Stream Located in Pisces”, Martin, Charles; Carlin, Jeffrey L.; Newberg, Heidi Jo; Grillmair, Carl.  The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Volume 765, Issue 2, article id. L39, 5 pp. (03/2013)

2. “ON RINGS AND STREAMS IN THE GALACTIC ANTI-CENTER “,  Li, Jing; Newberg, Heidi Jo; Carlin, Jeffrey L.; et al. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL  Volume: 757   Issue: 2 Article Number: 151 DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/757/2/151, Published: OCT 1 2012

3. “THE ORIGIN OF THE VIRGO STELLAR SUBSTRUCTURE”, Carlin, Jeffrey L.; Yam, William; Casetti-Dinescu, Dana I.; et al. ASTROPHYSICAL JOURNAL  Volume: 753   Issue: 2 Article Number: 145   DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/753/2/145, Published: JUL 10 2012

4. “LAMOST Experiment for Galactic Understanding and Exploration (LEGUE) - The survey's science plan”, Deng, Li-Cai; Newberg, Heidi Jo; Liu, Chao; et al. RESEARCH IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS  Volume: 12 Issue: 7 Pages: 735-754, Published: JUL 2012

5. “An algorithm for preferential selection of spectroscopic targets in LEGUE”,  Carlin, Jeffrey L.; Lepine, Sebastien; Newberg, Heidi Jo; et al. RESEARCH IN ASTRONOMY AND ASTROPHYSICS  Volume: 12 Issue: 7 Pages: 755-771, Published: JUL 2012

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