Binbin Zhang received a President’s Graduate Fellowship

Apr 29, 2008
Binbin Zhang received a President’s Graduate Fellowship

President’s Graduate Fellowship, Binbin Zhang

Binbin Zhang, a doctoral student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, was awarded a President’s Graduate Fellowship, the most prestigious scholarship in UNLV. The scholarship provides a $20,000 stipend and full tuition and fees. President’s Graduate Fellowships are funded by gifts to the UNLV Foundation by the Frank Koch Living Trust for the research support of doctoral students. As a second-year astronomy graduate student, Zhang’s research focuses on cosmological Gamma-Ray Bursts, intense bursts of gamma-rays received on the Earth from the deep space. In 2007-2008, he developed a set of software to automatically process the gamma-ray and X-ray data for GRBs obtained from the NASA Swift Satellite. Only two other institutes in the world have accomplished this goal. Based on the data products, Zhang and other members of the UNLV GRB group have done a comprehensive analysis of the data and confronted the data with the theoretical models. He also processed the data of several peculiar GRBs (e.g. GRB 060218 and GRB 060614), which led to important advance of our understanding of the classification scheme and radiation mechanism of GRBs. Zhang has published 14 papers in refereed journals, including 8 that were published since he joined UNLV.  His publications have been widely cited by the community. His first-author paper, which was published in September 2007 and reports the dramatic spectral evolution feature of early, steeply decaying X-ray afterglows of GRBs, has been cited for 24 times as of May 2008. He has reported these results in several professional meetings, including an oral presentation at the recent Swift Science Team Meeting held at UNLV in February 2008.

Dan Curtis

Binbin Zhang working on GRBs data analysis at UNLV.

“I am very grateful to this fellowship,” said Binbin, “and I will take full advantage of this award. It will enhance my research quality and let me continue exploring the new frontier of GRB research. With the support of the fellowship, I will be able to obtain more technical training to process the new data collected by GLAST, a new NASA mission to be launched in May 2008, and to attend annual GRB meetings and exchange ideas and results with the experts in the GRB field. It will also help to broaden my collaborations with scientists over the world, and enhance my career opportunities after I graduate from UNLV.”

Binbin was born in Yuanshi, a small town north China. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in Physics in Hebei Normal University, China in 2003.  In Fall 2003 he began his graduate study at Yunnan Observatory, Chinese Academy of Sciences. In 2006, he joined UNLV as a visiting student, and transferred to the UNLV graduate program in Fall 2007.

Associate professor Bing Zhang, Binbin’s academic advisor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy commented, “Binbin is an invaluable member of my group. What he has done is equivalent to what can be done by a bright postdoctoral fellow. He is very talented, dedicated and diligent, and I am very proud of his great achievements. Receiving the President’s Graduate Fellowship is a well-deserved honor for Binbin, and yet another indication of the high quality of the graduate students in the College of Sciences.”

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