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Python Programming to seek understanding of Fast Radio Bursts and Pulsars with Morgan Waddy


Morgan Waddy

Morgan Waddy, a fourth-year astronomy-physics major at the University of Virginia, is a current participant in the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC). Originally from Richmond, Virginia, she continues her research projects she began during her time in the PSC.

Programming and creating Python packaging to assist in Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) and pulsar research were her areas of focus during her time in the PSC. Specifically, she created a Python packaging using her mentor’s algorithm to calculate Bayesian estimation of an all-sky rate for FRBs using Markov Chain Monte Carlo Methods. Her mentors were Devansh Agarwal and Kshitij Aggarwal, both graduate students in the WVU Physics and Astronomy Department. While she had only previously coded in C, she learned a lot about Python and refined her programming knowledge overall.

Morgan considers her boost in programming knowledge and using it to create her first package a milestone in her research career. “I love that in my project I got to learn more about things I don't usually engage with. I learned a bit about sampling and probability, and I learned a lot about python” says Morgan.

Looking ahead, she hopes to use the skills she learned in this research project to continue making programs that relate to FRBs and pulsars. She plans to continue her research momentum as she applies to graduate school this year.

About the PSC

The Pulsar Search Collaboratory is a program that allows high school students and teachers to analyze pulsar data from the Green Bank Telescope (GBT). The Pulsar Search Collaboratory, a partnership between West Virginia University and the Green Bank Observatory, is funded by the National Science Foundation. For more information, please visit: