Benjamin Stahl

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I was involved in two research projects as an undergraduate. The first was as an intern with the Department of Energy's SULI internship program at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory during the summer of 2014 and the second was a project with Professor Tesla Jeltema of UC Santa Cruz that culminated with my senior thesis.

My scientific interests lie in observational cosmology.

My scientific publications can be found here.

Hanging with my team mates Mia and Jarred after finishing our afternoon calibrations for our run on the Shane Telescope at Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton
W. M. Keck Observatory, Hawaii


June - August 2014

I worked with scientists and engineers in the Particle Physics and Astrophysics Directorate at SLAC on ASIC called TARGET-7, which was a proposed front end electronics solution for use with the upcoming Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). Specifically, my role within the group was to characterize the trigger performance of TARGET-7. My studies revealed that the triggering did not perform to the specifications required by the CTA scientific objectives. This result lead to an investigation into the cause of the poor performance. A paper is in preparation to present these results, amongst others to the scientific community.

Those without a scientific background may want to read my general audience abstract to learn more about what I did.

Those with a scientific background and some time to kill can read this paper that I wrote at the conclusion of my time at SLAC.

Spectroscopic Galaxy Clusters Observations

October 2014 - September 2015

I completed a research project with Professor Tesla Jeltema of the UCSC Physics department and one of her graduate students. My work started with a half night of observation on the Keck II telescope performed remotely from UC Santa Cruz. Roughly one month later we flew to Hawaii to conduct two full nights of observation on the same telescope. In all of our observations we used the DEIMOS instrument to obtain high resolution multi-object spectra of two galaxy clusters at z ≈ 1. Upon completing the observations, I was responsible for reducing the data. Unfortunately, the pre-existing data reduction pipeline that I used was prone to failures, largely because of changes that have been made to the DEIMOS instrument since the pipeline was written. Ultimately the solution was obtained by using a ‘beta’ version of the pipeline with some additional modifications to adjust the assumptions made when finding a wavelength solution. After completing the reductions I determined the redshift of each galaxy, allowing me to create a catalog of redshifts. I then identified likely member galaxies for each of the clusters, subsequently allowing me to determine the velocity dispersions and masses of each cluster. The catalog of redshifts that I obtained will complement the work of other DES groups who have observed lower redshift clusters. Ultimately, the combined catalog of redshifts will aid DES in constraining and calibrating their results.

Those interested in understanding the specifics of my work can read my UCSC Senior Thesis.

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