Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Astronomers - Dr Lorraine Hanlon

Professor Tony Dean (University of Southampton) and Dr. Lorraine Hanlon of University College Dublin.

Dr Lorraine Hanlon is an Associate Professor of Astronomy at University College Dublin. Lorraine's research activities are in the areas of space science and astrophysics, with a particular emphasis on ground-based and space-based studies of gamma-ray bursts, the most powerful and distant sources in the universe.

Lorraine is part of the
research group involved in the next-generation space-borne gamma-ray telescope, INTEGRAL, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) in 2002. The group is developing a prototype of the optical camera which will be flown aboard INTEGRAL and is also involved in developing the software for the Integral Science Data Centre (ISDC) which will be used by the scientific community to analyse the data from that instrument. The group is also involved in the study of Blue Compact Dwarf galaxies, Active Galactic Nuclei, Cosmic gamma-ray bursts.

Lorraine is planning to bring her students from Dublin, to Tenerife next year to join those from the University of Southampton and the University of Tenerife, La Laguna. I asked her why she thought it would benefit her students. "It's important because it gets them out of the lab and gives them a real-world environment to work in - they learn to cope with dead-lines and working cross-culturally to get the science delivered". Lorraine also thought that the students were learning very useful transferable skills, important for any future career; presentations skills, working to deadlines, problem-solving and team work.

The gamma-ray students said about her -
"She's amazing - she is, she's been so helpful".

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