Speaker: Robert Morgan, Physics PhD Graduate Student
Abstract: Advances in data collection technology for optical astronomy, such as the Dark Energy Camera, have facilitated the collection of some of the largest astronomical datasets, in terms of sky area, depth, number of objects, number of observations, and frequency of observations. Consequentially, physical systems that have been historically rare become represented in small, but discoverable, numbers. I have developed techniques to identify rare physical systems (counterparts to high-energy neutrinos, counterparts to gravitational waves, and gravitationally lensed supernovae) that can shed new light on the physical processes that govern the Universe. For each system of interest, I collect new or search archival observations with the Dark Energy Camera, develop selection methodologies to find the system of interest in the observations, and quantify the efficiency of the search using simulations. Each of the three analyses has its own scientific implications: I constrain the observing program required to determine the contribution of supernovae to the diffuse high-energy neutrino flux; I set constraints on the physical properties of an optical counterpart to a compact object merger; and I identify candidate lensed supernovae using a novel machine learning technique.