Stars and population stats

A new Cornell Research feature takes a look at astronomy research associate Thomas Nikola, and developmental sociology research assistant and lecturuer Sarah C Giroux. Both faculty incorporate active research studies in evolving fields into their teaching, bringing academic excellence to their fields. 

Nikola studies the interplay between the interstellar medium, the stars, and galactic nuclei. Working with Professor Gordon J. Stacey of astronomy, Nikola helps build instruments to observe the gas and dust between stars, known as the interstellar medium and analyzes data the instruments collect once they are deployed.

“When the radiation from stars hit the surrounding ISM, the gas heats up,” Nikola explains. “It cools by emitting radiation at very specific wavelengths from various elements. Heating and cooling balances, and the gas settles at a specific temperature. Our instruments allow us to observe these emission lines generated by the elements.”

Giroux looks at how population age structure impacts a country’s socioeconomic wellbeing. She wants to estimate the size of a country’s socioeconomic dividends when families have fewer children and more resources are freed up for other purposes.

Read the full story on Cornell Research.

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