Dr. Nick Sterling awarded an NSF research grant
Dr. Nick Sterling is Co-Principal Investigator on a National Science Foundation grant that was awarded $493,396, in collaboration with physicists at Auburn University and the University of Georgia. $80,128 of this award will support work and student research at UWG. The proposal, entitled “A joint theoretical and experimental approach to low-temperature dielectronic recombination data for photoionized astrophysical environments,” aims to provide accurate data for recombination processes, in which positively-charged ions capture electrons in a plasma. Dielectronic recombination is a two-electron process: one of the ion’s bound electrons is excited when a free electron is captured. This can be the dominant recombination mechanism in astrophysical nebulae, but existing data are highly uncertain at temperatures characteristic of nebulae. The data generated by this project will impact several areas of astronomy and our understanding of the chemical composition and evolution of the Universe. Undergraduate students at UWG will play a key role in this project, exposing them to collaborative activities that will enhance their education and expand their career development opportunities.