Graduate student Greg Salvesen is the winner of the 2014 R. N. Thomas Award. The award of about $500 comes from a fund established by Nora Thomas, the widow of JILA co-founder Dick Thomas. In addition to the monetary award, Salvesen received a book about Thomas’ exemplary career in astrophysics.
Salvesen is a fifth-year graduate student in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences. He works under Fellow Mitch Begelman, who says “he is one of the most independent students I have encountered, working in observational phenomenology, data analysis, and computational theory.”
Salvesen’s thesis will focus on the properties of accretion disks in black-hole x-ray binary systems. A major project is to determine whether the observed properties of disks can be used to infer the spin of the central black hole. This is an important topic for understanding how stellar-mass black holes form and evolve. His work promises not only to shed new light on this topic, but also lead to new insights into the physics of accretion disks.
“Greg is amazingly productive and focused for a graduate student,” Begelman says. “He has already published five papers in the Astrophysical Journal and the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.”
Salvesen’s other honors include an NST Graduate Fellowship, a Chambliss Award for an outstanding poster, and a 2015–1015 CU Graduate School Dissertation Completion Fellowship, which will pay for his final semester at CU.