Jim is a staff scientist at Fermilab, where he studies gravitational wave events with an optical telescope and a big camera.
He studies astronomy and cosmology using sky surveys, first the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and now DES. Clusters of galaxies allow cosmology to be derived and structure formation to be checked; LRG are the galaxy counterparts to clusters; stacked weak lensing of both allows masses to be assigned; correlation functions allow tight connection to simulations. Much can be done with imaging; much can be done with spectroscopy; all are best done, in these decades, with large scale sky surveys.
We asked Jim a few more questions — here’s what he had to say:
Do you have kids? Do they want to be scientists too?
Yes I do. 50% of my kids do: one wants to be a marine biologist.
What do you think has been the most exciting advance in science / technology in the last 10 years?
We discovered a kilonova counter part to a LIGO/Virgo neutron star merger event– and made a measurement of the Hubble constant in the process!
Any other fun fact about yourself that you’d like to share with our public audience.
Anaximander. Look him up.
Any advice for aspiring scientists?
Think for yourself!