Halverson develops millimeter-wavelength instrumentation to study the origins of the universe through observations of the Cosmic Microwave Background (CMB). Observations of the CMB can be used to gather evidence for gravitational waves released by an early period of inflation, and can be used to constrain the neutrino mass and the understand the growth of structure and dark energy. He is currently a co-investigator on two ground-based CMB experiments: the South Pole Telescope (SPT) and Polarbear/Simons Array. He is also Co-I on a NASA Technology Development Grant for Advancing Focal Plane TRL for LiteBIRD and Other Next-Generation CMB Space Missions.
ASTR 3560 - Astronomical Instrumentation Laboratory
Teaches students aspects of astronomical instrument design in a hands-on setting. Students will learn elementary principles of geometrical optics, diffraction, light detection, signal conditioning, data acquisition and motion control, and mechanical design. Students will apply these principles working in groups to design and build optical spectrometers.
ASTR 5550 - Observations, Data Analysis and Statistics
Introduces multi-wavelength observational techniques,their limitations and effects of various noise sources. Describes basic data handling, error analysis, and statistical tests relevant to modeling. Topics include probability distributions, model-fitting algorithms, confidence intervals, correlations, sampling and convolution. Students derive physical measurements and uncertainties with hands-on analysis of real datasets. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics or instructor consent will be required.