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Sam Jenkins ’19 receives top American Astronomical Society award

Jenkins was one of four undergraduate students nationally to receive the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award at the society’s recent annual meeting in Denver.         

Sam Jenkins ’19 has been selected as one of only four undergraduates nationally to receive the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award following the presentation of his research at the American Astronomical Society’s 232 annual meeting last month in Denver, Colorado.

Sam Jenkins'19 with his mentor, Chris Richardson, assistant professor of physics

The award is given to recognize exemplary research by graduate and undergraduate students who present during one of the poster sessions at the society’s annual meeting. Winners receive the Chambliss medal.

Jenkins has been conducting undergraduate research with mentor Chris Richardson, assistant professor of physics, about galaxies with supermassive black holes. More specifically, Jenkins is working with Richardson to identify the physical conditions necessary for gas clouds to show signs of anomalously high temperatures in galaxies by analyzing emission lines observed from those galaxies. To do this, Jenkins runs sophisticated simulations of the gas clouds using a high performance, supercomputing cluster located at UC San Diego.

Jenkins was inducted into the Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society this spring and presented his research findings during the Spring Undergraduate Research Forum. An overview of the research presented at SURF is available here. He is a Rawls Scholar, with a grant to support his undergraduate research, and has participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences in the past.

Jenkins plans to pursue a graduate degree in astrophysics following his graduation from Elon. 


Owen Covington,
7/9/2018 7:15 AM