Erika Hamden

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Erika Hamden
Erika Tobiason Hamden

Alma materHarvard College (AB)
Le Cordon Bleu (Dip.)
Columbia University (MPhil, MA, PhD)
AwardsTED Fellow (2019)
Scientific career
InstitutionsCalifornia Institute of Technology
University of Arizona
ThesisFIREBall, CHAS, and the Diffuse Universe (2014)
Doctoral advisorDavid Schiminovich

Erika Tobiason Hamden is an American astrophysicist and Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona and Steward Observatory. Her research focuses on developing ultraviolet (UV) detector technology, ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy (UV/VIS) instrumentation and spectroscopy, and galaxy evolution.[1] She served as the project scientist and project manager of a UV multi-object spectrograph, FIREBall-2, that is designed to observe the circumgalactic medium (CGM).[citation needed] She is a 2019 TED fellow.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Hamden was born in Montclair, New Jersey. Hamden studied astrophysics at Harvard College and graduated in 2006.[3] Hamden worked at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, completing a senior thesis under Andrew Szentgyorgyi.[3] After graduating, she completed a diploma at Le Cordon Bleu in London, before working as a chef in New Jersey. She joined Columbia University for her doctoral studies in 2007, earning a PhD supervised by David Schiminovich [Wikidata] in 2014.[4] She worked on the diffuse galactic far UV background using archival GALEX data, far UV bright galactic clouds, UV detector development, and ultraviolet instrumentation.[5][3] She held a NASA Earth and Space Science fellowship from 2011 to 2014.

Career and research[edit]

Hamden joined California Institute of Technology as a postdoctoral researcher, working with Christopher Martin. Here she developed an ultraviolet telescope for a high-altitude balloon, the "Faint Intergalactic medium Redshifted Emission Balloon" (FIREBall-2).[3][6] FIREBall-2 will observe circumgalactic media (CGM) emission in the ultraviolet.[7] She appeared on the podcast 365 Days of Astronomy.[8] She was a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow in 2014.[9] The fellowship allowed her to develop instrumentation to study galaxies in the Keck Cosmic Web Imager redshift range.[10] In 2016 she was the first woman to be awarded a NASA Nancy Roman technology fellowship for her work in detectors.[11] She was made a Robert Andrews Millikan fellow in 2017.

Hamden joined the faculty at the University of Arizona and Steward Observatory in 2018.[12] Here she is building a UV detector lab and continuing work on FIREBall-2 and as the project scientist for the Keck Cosmic Reionization Mapper.

She is interested in silicon detector technologies and Lyman-alpha emission from the circumgalactic media.[13] She has worked on anti-reflective coatings for delta-doped CCDs, helping to improve their efficiency in the ultraviolet.[14][15][16] FIREBall-2 was designed to test this new technology.[7] The electron multiplying charge-coupled devices (EMCCDs) can suffer from clock-induced charge and spurious signals and require carefully designed shaped pixel clocks to minimize noise.[17][18] She has worked as US lead on FIREBall-2 from 2014 to its launch on September 22, 2018. Hamden was present during integration of FIREBall-2 at Fort Sumner in 2018, when a falcon landed in the telescope.[19]

Hamden is a member of the Goddard Space Flight Center Cosmic Origins Science Working Group.[20] She is one of 20 people selected as TED fellow in 2019.[21][22] Her TED Talk was selected by TED as a highlight of their April 2019 conference, and covered by Wired magazine.[23][24]

Awards and honors[edit]

Her awards and honors include


  1. ^ Arnaud, Monique; Milliard, Bruno; Murray, Stephen S.; Martin, D. Christopher; Schiminovich, David; Takahashi, Tadayuki; Evrard, Jean; Matuszewski, Matt; Rahman, Shahinur; Tuttle, Sarah; McLean, Ryan; Deharveng, Jean-Michel; Mirc, Frederi; Grange, Robert; Chave, Robert (2010). "FIREBALL: The Faint Intergalactic medium Redshifted Emission Balloon: Overview and first science flight results" (PDF). Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Ultraviolet to Gamma Ray. 7732. p. 773205. doi:10.1117/12.857850. ISSN 0277-786X.
  2. ^ "Prof. Erika Hamden". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Erika Hamden '06". Harvard University. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  4. ^ Hamden, Erika Tobiason (2014). FIREBall, CHAS, and the diffuse universe. (PhD thesis). Columbia University. doi:10.7916/D8Z31WZF. OCLC 1004780751. Free to read
  5. ^ Hamden, Erika T.; Schiminovich, David; Seibert, Mark (2013). "The Diffuse Galactic Far-Ultraviolet Sky". The Astrophysical Journal. 779 (2): 180. arXiv:1311.0875. Bibcode:2013ApJ...779..180H. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/779/2/180. ISSN 0004-637X.
  6. ^ "The Faint Intergalactic-medium Redshifted Emission Balloon" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  7. ^ a b "FIREBall: future UV observations of the circumgalactic medium". Carnegie Observatories. 2016-02-05. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  8. ^ "Citizen Science". 365 Days of Astronomy. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  9. ^ "Erika Hamden | NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  10. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#1402206 - Understanding galaxy growth and history through innovative instruments". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  11. ^ "Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships in Astrophysics for Early Career Researchers | Science Mission Directorate". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  12. ^ "Dr. Erika Hamden to Join Astronomy/Steward in Fall 2018". University of Arizona. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  13. ^ "Astronomy Colloquium Series Presents: Dr. Erika Hamden, Assistant Professor, The University of Arizona | U-M LSA Michigan Institute for Research in Astrophysics". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  14. ^ "Advanced Detectors, Systems, & Nanoscience | Capabilities | Microdevices Laboratory | NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory California Institute of Technology". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  15. ^ "Next Generation UV Instrument Technologies" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  16. ^ Schiminovich, David; Nikzad, Shouleh; Dickie, Matt; Hoenk, Michael; Jones, Todd; Jacquot, Blake; Blacksberg, Jordana; Hamden, Erika (2010). Anti-Reflection Coatings for Silicon Ultraviolet Detectors. Optical Interference Coatings (2010), Paper MD6. Optical Society of America. pp. MD6. doi:10.1364/OIC.2010.MD6. ISBN 978-1-55752-891-9. closed access
  17. ^ Hamden, Erika T.; Lingner, Nicole; Kyne, Gillian; Morrissey, Patrick; Martin, D. Christopher (2015). "Noise and dark performance for FIREBall-2 EMCCD delta-doped CCD detector". UV, X-Ray, and Gamma-Ray Space Instrumentation for Astronomy XIX. 9601: 96010O. Bibcode:2015SPIE.9601E..0OH. doi:10.1117/12.2190679. Free to read
  18. ^ Nikzad, Shouleh; Hoenk, Michael; Jewell, April; Hennessy, John; Carver, Alexander; Jones, Todd; Goodsall, Timothy; Hamden, Erika; Suvarna, Puneet (2016). "Single Photon Counting UV Solar-Blind Detectors Using Silicon and III-Nitride Materials". Sensors. 16 (6): 927. doi:10.3390/s16060927. ISSN 1424-8220. PMC 4934352. PMID 27338399.
  19. ^ Letzter, Rafi; June 12, Staff Writer |; ET, 2018 06:05pm. "Confused Baby Falcon Rescued from Inside Balloon Telescope". Live Science. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  20. ^ "LUVOIR". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  21. ^ "Meet the 2019 TED Fellows and Senior Fellows". 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  22. ^ Anzilotti, Eillie (2019-01-23). "Meet this year's 20 inspiring, creative TED Fellows". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  23. ^ Dreyfuss, Emily (2019-04-25). "Scientists Need to Talk More About Failure". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  24. ^ "In Case You Missed It: Highlights from TED2019". TED Blog. 2019-04-20. Retrieved 2019-04-27.
  25. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers". 2019-07-02. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  26. ^ "Meet the 2019 TED Fellows and Senior Fellows". 2019-01-23. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  27. ^ "Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowships in Astrophysics for Early Career Researchers | Science Mission Directorate". Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  28. ^ "NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows". Retrieved 2019-05-03.
  29. ^ "NESSF Astrophysics Selections 2011" (PDF). Retrieved 2019-05-03.