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USRA Sponsors Poster Awards at Fermi Gamma-Ray Burst Symposium

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) highlighted its ongoing participation in and support of the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope mission by joining conference organizers in sponsoring a poster prize competition at the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Symposium held during October 20-23, 2008 in Huntsville, AL. Hosted by the Fermi Gamma-ray Burst Monitor (GBM) team, the conference featured lectures and presentations by experts in the field of gamma-ray astronomy from 25 nations, as well as reports on the most recent findings from both Fermi and NASA's Swift mission. Special emphasis was given to early observations from Fermi and presentations were featured that provided symposium participants with the first results on gamma-ray bursts from the Fermi GBM and Large Area Telescope (LAT).

As part of the symposium activities, USRA and the conference organizers sponsored a prize competition for the 102 posters on display. Forty-one of the poster presenters entered the competition and four winners were selected for prizes of $250 - $500 each. Awardees included:

  • Professor John Hakkila of the College of Charleston for his poster entitled 'Correlations between Lag, Duration, Peak Luminosity, Harness, and Asymmetry in Long GRB Pulses'
  • Dr. Diego Goetz of CEA Saclay, France, for his poster entitled 'SVOM: a new mission for Gamma-Ray Burst studies'
  • Dr. Kim Page of Leicester University for her poster entitled 'The rising X-ray afterglow of GRB 080307'
  • Dr. Eleonora Troja of INAF Palermo for her poster entitled 'Colliding Compact Objects&quot

Dr. Don Kniffen, former Director of USRA's Center for Research and Exploration in Space Science and Technology (CRESST) and current Director of SOFIA Science Mission Operations, noted the high quality of work presented, saying that 'This is an exciting time in a cutting edge area of astronomy and astrophysics. It's wonderful to see the work being done, especially by young scientists, in this arena. USRA is proud to support these talented scientists and researchers.'

The Universities Space Research Association, established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, is a private, nonprofit consortium of 102 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA's mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.