RITA SAMBRUNA

Rita at Tambopata, Peru

Dr. Rita Maria Sambruna
Department of Physics and Astronomy, MS 3F3
George Mason University
4400 University Dr.
Fairfax, VA 22030-4444
voice: 301-286-1205
email: rms@physics.gmu.edu

I am an Affiliate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at George Mason University, where I previously held the position of Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Astrophysics. In 2005 I moved to NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center where I am a Senior Astrophysicist working on high-energy space-based missions. My main research interest are supermassive black holes in galaxies, which I study from an observer's perspective using X-ray and multiwavelength data collected with space- and ground-based telescopes. The goal of my research is to unravel the structure of the accretion flow and the conditions of matter nearby these objects.


My non-professional interests include the study and teaching of Applied Behavior Analysis, a branch of Behavior Science, geared towards companion animals and their caregivers. To this end I co-founded a non-profit organization, the Animal Education Foundation , based in Washington, DC.





  • Education:
  • Doctor Philosophiae (PhD) in Astrophysics, 1994, International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy
    Master Philosophiae in Astrophysics, 1992, International School for Advanced Studies, Trieste, Italy
    Laurea in Physics, 1989, Universita' degli Studi, Milan, Italy

  • Positions:
  • Astrophysicist, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, 2005-present
    Affiliate Professor, George Mason University, 2005-present
    Clare Boothe Luce Professor of Astrophysics, George Mason University, 2001-2005
    Associate Tenured Professor, George Mason University, 2004-2005
    Assistant Professor, George Mason University, 2000-2004
    Research Associate, Pennsylvania State University, Chandra Team, 1997-2000
    NRC Fellow, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Laboratory for High-Energy Astrophysics, 1995-1997
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Space Telescope Science Institute, 1994-1995

  • Awards and Honors:
  • NSF's CAREER award, 2002-2006
    NASA's LTSA award, 2001-2005
    Clare Boothe Luce Professorship, 2001-2005
    NRC's Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, 1995-1997
    SISSA research scholarship, 1990-1994

  • Research Grants:
  • PI of many observing and long-term research grants from NASA and NSF (HST, Chandra, XMM, RXTE, Suzaku, Fermi, ADP, LTSA, CAREER)

  • Research Topics:
  • The Physics of extragalactic jets:
    1. X-ray and multiwavelength mapping of kpc-scale jets - Related Link: Bologna Jet Worskhop , September 23-27, 2002
    2. Correlated multiwavelength monitoring of blazars
  • Radio galaxies:
    1. Structure of the accretion flow in radio-loud AGN
    2. Weak-Lined Radio Galaxies
  • The nature of IR-luminous LINERs
  • X-ray observations of Seyferts and IR-luminous galaxies Papers

  • Talks, Publications, and Outreach:
  • Publications
    Invited Talks
    Outreach Activities

  • Synergistic Activities:

  • Member of the SOC of the 2nd VERITAS Symposium on the TeV Astrophysics of Extragalactic Sources, 2003 April 24-26, Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, Chicago, IL
    Organizer and Co-chair of the Bologna Jet Worskhop , 2002 September 23-27, Bologna, Italy
    Member of the HEASARC Working Group, 2002-2005
    Science advisor to the GLAST and HESS Working Groups
    Regular referee for ApJ, MNRAS, A&A, Science
    Panelist for NASA and NSF Peer Reviews

  • Teaching:
  • Astro 765/CSI 765 - High-energy astrophysics: New course: An Introduction to Active Galactic Nuclei (graduate level)
    Astro 769/CSI 769 - New course: Observational X-ray Astronomy (graduate level)
    Astro 113 - Introductory Astronomy for non-science majors
    Astro 112 - Introductory Astronomy Lab (Fall semester)
    Astro 114 - Introductory Astronomy Lab (Spring semester)
    Physics 408 - Senior Research Project

  • Collaborators at GMU:
  • Dr. Francesco Tombesi, Postdoctoral Researcher, 2009-present
    Dr. Mario Gliozzi , Postdoctoral Researcher, 2001-2008

  • Graduate Students Advised:
  • Insuk Jang , 2008-present

    Davide Donato , 2002-2006

    Jessica K. Gambill , 2001-2004 Jess' paper at the 2002 Cheasapeake Physics teacher meeting was selected as the best student paper


  • Undergraduate Students Advised in Research Projects:
  • At George Mason University:

    Andy Ayres, Summer 2001, 2002 Enrolled in physics grad program at GMU
    Emily Chapman, 2000-2003 Accepted at the UPitts astronomy graduate program and awarded the Warga Research Fellowship
    Shirin Emdadi, Spring 2001
    David Norwood, Summer 2001 Graduated and now working for a company
    Jessica K. Reitz, Summer 2001 Enrolled in the Astrophysics grad program at GMU
    Alex Rinn, Summer 2001-2004 Graduated and now working for the Governement
    Stuart Bannan, Summer 2002 Junior at St John's College in Annapolis
    Michael Malone, Summer 2002 Junior at St John's College in Annapolis
    John McNulty, Summer 2002 Junior at St John's College in Annapolis

    See pictures of the 2001 summer astronomy students!

    At Pennsylvania State University:

    Christa Hasenkopf, Summer 2000
    Lester Chou, 1998-2000 Graduated and now working for a company

  • Links:
  • X-ray Astronomy:
    HEASARC
    The Chandra X-ray Observatory
    The XMM-Newton Observatory
    X-ray Astrophysics Sites
    Chandra Photo Album

    Women in Science:
    4000 years of Women in Science

     

                                                                           This page last updated:   August 15, 2008