Ian Prado, a senior majoring in Math and Physics, is just one of the Emerging Scholars Class of 2012 that had the opportunity to participate in an incredibly interesting and innovative undergraduate research project through the Emerging Scholars Program.
While in the Emerging Scholars Program, Ian worked with Dr. Irwin in the Physics department doing research on black holes. The goal of his project was to comb through data collected by the Chandra X-ray Observatory. Chandra was launched by NASA in 1999 and is the program’s flagship x-ray telescope. Ian measured the luminosity distributions of different galaxies in an effort to locate the first observed, intermediate black hole.
After Ian finished the Emerging Scholars program and finished his project, he was able to report his findings with another undergraduate from Dr. Irwin’s group at the University of Alabama’s Annual Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Conference. While Ian and his group did not definitively find an intermediate black hole, they did find preliminary data that suggested the presence of one.
Through his involvement in undergraduate research, Ian says that he “learned how to collaboratively work on problems outside of the traditional classroom and how to read and decipher academic journals. The Emerging Scholars greatly assisted my journey through undergraduate research.”
Ian is graduating in May of 2016 and is planning to work as a nuclear engineer. He wants to pursue this through an internship experience at one of the nuclear power plants in the South or by attending graduate school. Ian is excited to continue his involvement in research and see what future Emerging Scholars students explore and discover in their own research projects.