Featured Researcher: Nick TusayPosted on June 2, 2021
Get to know, Nick Tusay, our new Featured Researcher. Nick is a graduate student at the astronomy and astrophysics department at Penn State and his research is out of this world.
Nick’s current research area is focused in SETI, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, and he uses Roar to scan the universe for signs of life in outer space. According to Tusay, SETI observations create large volumes of data that are often too big for personal computers. That data also needs to be combed through for minute signals that life might be out there. He said that the computing cluster provides the perfect environment to analyze large data volumes and sort through the numerous results – and maybe even find ET.
How did you get into this research field?
I am extremely fortunate to be on a research fellowship, which affords me time outside of classes to do research. When I came to Penn State I knew that there were a lot of opportunities here to study exoplanets. That was my main area of interest at first and I still want to study exoplanets, but I found another research area that I never even considered and am excited to be a part of. By simply asking for work from some of the professors doing the things I want to do I was given an opportunity to do SETI research with Professor Jason Wright.
What do you hope to accomplish with your research?
SETI is the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. So, it should be obvious what the ultimate aim of this research is. But along the way I am honing my skills, making connections and advancing the field so that when we find something interesting we can address it with scientific rigor.
How does supercomputing enable your research?
There are two main ways supercomputing enables my research. SETI observations tend to produce large volumes of data that are often impractically big for personal computers. And all that data needs to be combed through for the signals we are looking for. So, the computing cluster provides the perfect environment to analyze large data volumes and sort through the numerous results.
What is your academic background?
I am a non-traditional student. I graduated from Rutgers University in 2004 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, concentrating in aerospace engineering and minoring in mathematics. Many years later I decided to get back into academia by getting a second bachelor’s degree in physics from The College of New Jersey. I did this in order to reacclimate and better prepare myself for graduate school. And now I am a graduate student in the Astronomy & Astrophysics department here at Penn State.
What important advances do you think we’ll see in your field in five years? Ten? Twenty?
Within 5 years Breakthrough Listen will achieve its mandate of observing 1 million of the nearest stars for signals. This will be achieved with commensal observations at the Very Large Array (VLA) in New Mexico and the MeerKAT telescope in South Africa. Within 10 years the Square Kilometer Array will come online. And that has the potential to provide unparalleled sensitivity for radio astronomy. It is my hope that in 20 years time the scientific community will have begun to seriously consider developing a radio telescope on the far side of the moon. It is the quietest place in the solar system, free from almost every source of radio frequency interference.
What’s your favorite sound?
The ‘dook-dook’ sound that ferrets make when they play. It’s so cute!
If you had unlimited money, what project would you take on?
I would put it all into developing fusion energy. It is a completely realizable technology. We just need to invest more into research and development. But corporate interests have lobbied hard to keep fusion energy funding at a minimum because they know that once fusion is made viable it will easily dominate the energy industry.
What’s your advice for would-be scientists?
Yes. You can do it.
What profession other than your own would you enjoy?
I thought about being a pilot for a while. I even took a few flying lessons. That would be fun.
- Multi-institutional team to use AI to evaluate social, behavioral science claims
- NSF invests in cyberinfrastructure institute to harness cosmic data
- Center for Immersive Experiences set to debut, serving researchers and students
- Distant Suns, Distant Worlds
- CyberScience Seminar: Researcher to discuss how AI can help people avoid adverse drug interactions
- AI could offer warnings about serious side effects of drug-drug interactions
- Taking RTKI drugs during radiotherapy may not aid survival, worsens side effects
- Cost-effective cloud research computing options now available for researchers
- Costs of natural disasters are increasing at the high end
- Model helps choose wind farm locations, predicts output
- Virus may jump species through ‘rock-and-roll’ motion with receptors
- Researchers seek to revolutionize catalyst design with machine learning
- Resilient Resumes team places third in Nittany AI Challenge
- ‘AI in Action’: Machine learning may help scientists explore deep sleep
- Clickbait Secrets Exposed! Humans and AI team up to improve clickbait detection
- Focusing computational power for more accurate, efficient weather forecasts
- How many Earth-like planets are around sun-like stars?
- Professor receives NSF grant to model cell disorder in heart
- SMH! Brains trained on e-devices may struggle to understand scientific info
- Whole genome sequencing may help officials get a handle on disease outbreaks
- New tool could reduce security analysts’ workloads by automating data triage
- Careful analysis of volcano’s plumbing system may give tips on pending eruptions
- Reducing farm greenhouse gas emissions may plant the seed for a cooler planet
- Using artificial intelligence to detect discrimination
- Four ways scholars say we can cut the chances of nasty satellite data surprises
- Game theory shows why stigmatization may not make sense in modern society
- Older adults can serve communities as engines of everyday innovation
- Pig-Pen effect: Mixing skin oil and ozone can produce a personal pollution cloud
- Researchers find genes that could help create more resilient chickens
- Despite dire predictions, levels of social support remain steady in the U.S.
- For many, friends and family, not doctors, serve as a gateway to opioid misuse
- New algorithm may help people store more pictures, share videos faster
- Head named for Ken and Mary Alice Lindquist Department of Nuclear Engineering
- Scientific evidence boosts action for activists, decreases action for scientists
- People explore options, then selectively represent good options to make difficult decisions
- Map reveals that lynching extended far beyond the deep South
- Gravitational forces in protoplanetary disks push super-Earths close to stars
- Supercomputer cluster donation helps turn high school class into climate science research lab
- Believing machines can out-do people may fuel acceptance of self-driving cars
- People more likely to trust machines than humans with their private info
- IBM donates system to Penn State to advance AI research
- ICS Seed Grants to power projects that use AI, machine learning for common good
- Penn State Berks team advances to MVP Phase of Nittany AI Challenge
- Creepy computers or people partners? Working to make AI that enhances humanity
- Sky is clearing for using AI to probe weather variability
- ‘AI will see you now’: Panel to discuss the AI revolution in health and medicine
- Privacy law scholars must address potential for nasty satellite data surprises
- Researchers take aim at hackers trying to attack high-value AI models
- Girls, economically disadvantaged less likely to get parental urging to study computers
- Seed grants awarded to projects using Twitter data
- Researchers find features that shape mechanical force during protein synthesis
- A peek at living room decor suggests how decorations vary around the world
- Interactive websites may cause antismoking messages to backfire
- Changing how government assesses risk may ease fallout from extreme financial events
- Predictability limit: Scientists find bounds of weather forecasting
- Faculty wins NSF CAREER Award to model structure of extreme weather events
- Mechanical force controls the speed of protein synthesis