MAILED: Oct. 6, 1997|
EAU CLAIRE -- Seven faculty from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire department of physics and astronomy are working together to tackle a complex project.
The collaborative project, which will begin this fall, is designed to observe asteroids and measure the orientations of their poles.
Faculty and student researchers will examine the Koronis asteroid family and its collision with other asteroids. Their research will determine if the Koronis family is the youngest asteroid family and, if so, what conditions create collisions, and how collisions affect the location of other families, said Dr. Lyle Ford, assistant professor of physics and astronomy.
"This research will shed light on the beginning of the solar system, and how the planets came to be," he said.
The project will use a wide range of UW-Eau Claire resources, including the 24-inch Hobbs telescope located at the Beaver Creek Nature Reserve, and various campus computers for analyzing data and computer modeling, said Dr. Paul Thomas, associate professor of physics and astronomy.
Ford and six other faculty members from the department of physics and astronomy, including Drs. George Stecher, William Smethells, Paul Thomas, Lauren Likkel and Erik Hendrickson, and emeriti Robert Elliot, selected the project topic. The group examined key research on the topic and located the work of Dr. William Wild, a researcher at the University of Chicago. Last spring Wild visited UW-Eau Claire and shared his research on the topic with the group.
"Research is difficult to conduct without face-to-face contact," Ford said. "With everyone working together at the same university, we can keep each other going although we are each tackling a different aspect of the project."
Student work on the project is funded by a grant from the UW-Eau Claire differential tuition program.
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Oct. 6, 1997