Photo of Landen Conway (left) and Roy Forestano (right).
Congratulations to Landen Conway and Roy Forestano, two outstanding graduate students in UF Physics who have recently been awarded the esteemed Steigleman Family Fellowship. Their notable achievements in the field of theoretical astrophysics are commendable as they pursue their respective research endeavors.
Landen Conway (advisor: Cliff Will). Landen is a third-year graduate student working with Professor Cliff Will on triple-system dynamics. Landen discovered a whole hierarchy of second-order contributions as well as a third-order effect that must be included in the solution. Landen has mastered the necessary lore of orbital dynamics and of Newtonian and post-Newtonian gravity, along with advanced use of software such as Mathematica, which is essential for carrying out highly complex analytical calculations. Landen arrived at UF during the Covid pandemic, and as a consequence, has not been able to attend a conference in person to present his work (he did give a recorded talk at the 2022 APS April meeting). The Steigleman Fellowship will allow him to attend an American Astronomical Society (AAS) or American Physics Society (APS) meeting during the next academic year. Additional research opportunities include travel to Paris to work with Professor Will and to interact with colleagues at the Institute of Astrophysics, and at the Observatory of Paris, which houses the world’s leading N-body ephemeris group headed by Laskar.
Roy Forestano (advisor: Katia Matcheva). Roy is finishing his second year in our graduate physics program and has completed all required physics core courses with “flying colors.” He has been working with Professor Katia Matcheva on the “Application of Novel Machine Learning Techniques for Characterization of Extrasolar System Planets.” Roy has co-authored four publications in on a broad range of topics, including extrasolar system planets, abstract Lie algebras, and symmetry searches with the help of Deep Learning techniques. Last summer, Roy and his research team embarked on a data challenge that was organized by the science team of the Ariel space mission in preparation of the future data analysis. The competition was part of the NeurIPS 2022 conference. With more than 200 participating international teams, Roy’s group won the first place prize. Roy played a central role in the team and now he is improving on the retrieval model by investigating a variety of numerical architectures by optimizing the sampling and training algorithms.