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NASA funds Florida Tech associate professor for extragalactic research

June 11, 2007

MELBOURNE, Fla.--Eric Perlman, Florida Tech associate professor of physics and space sciences, has earned $490,400 in funding over three years from NASA's Long-term Space Astrophysics grant program. The program supports long-term research projects in astronomy and astrophysics.

Perlman will conduct observational and theoretical work on jets, which are energetic outflows from the centers of some bright galaxies. They emerge typically from the regions immediately surrounding the central black hole, with a velocity nearly equal to the speed of light. His project title is, "Probing the Basic Physics of Extragalactic Jets."

"The jets are the largest, most powerful particle accelerators in the universe. They accelerate particles to energies many thousands of times greater than any particle accelerator here on Earth," said Perlman. His work will access the Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra X-ray Observatory, as well as other telescopes. Work will go on at Florida Tech and at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).

"There is much we don't know about jets, including their basic matter content, structure and the mechanisms that govern their dynamics and the emissions we see," Perlman added. Perlman's work may further understanding of the origin of cosmic rays, often created by jets and active galaxies, and which impact astronauts and satellites.
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Prior to coming to Florida Tech last winter, Perlman held fellowships at the Goddard Space Flight center and Space Telescope Science Institute as well as research and staff positions at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Astrophysical Sciences and at UMBC. He earned a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado.

Florida Institute of Technology

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