Julia Crowley-Farenga ’08 is among the contenders for the highest science honor awarded to American high school students, in the Siemens Competition in Math, Science & Technology Region Five Finals. Julia, along with her partner, Patrick Loftus, won the $6,000 Team scholarship. Their astronomy project entitled, Morphological Classification of Post-Starburst Galaxies, examined and classified 2,811 galaxies.
“Ms. Crowley-Farenga and Mr. Loftus have conducted a comprehensive visual classification of ‘post-starburst’ galaxies in order to explain how galaxies progress from star-forming to non- star-forming states,” said competition judge Dr. Leigh Royden, chair of the Program in Geology and Geochemistry at MIT. “Their results indicate that large-mass and small-mass galaxies undergo this transition in different ways. Small-mass galaxies expel matter by supernova activity, while large-mass galaxies undergo mergers that disrupt the distribution of matter within the galaxies. These students have made a fundamental contribution to understanding the evolution of galaxies. Their results suggest a link between the end of star formation in large galaxies and the growth of black holes at the center of these galaxies.”
From a young age, Julia would search for shooting stars and dreamed of becoming an astronaut traveling across the universe. She still hopes to be an astronaut or work for NASA. She plans to major in engineering, materials science or nanotechnology.