Hello! I am Zachary Weaver, a PhD Candidate at the Institute for Astrophysical Research within the Boston University Department of Astronomy. I study the most interesting objects in the entire Universe: Blazars! Blazars are the most luminous objects in the Universe, emitting light at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays. In one of the ironies of the Universe, these extremely bright objects are powered by a near-invisible central engine – a supermassive black hole containing the mass of hundreds of millions of Suns, whose gravity is so strong that not even light can escape. The main question I am trying to answer is how this irony occurs in the first place: How can black holes power the brightest objects in the Universe? What are the main drivers of emission within these sources?
When not working on blazars or out in Flagstaff, Arizona observing with the BU-owned Perkins Telescope, I can usually be found exploring the breweries around Boston. During the pandemic I started brewing beer at home, and over the last two years have been learning how to ski! I have been a judge for the Massachusetts Science and Engineering Fair for the last few years, as well as being a pen-pal for under-represented students in STEM fields through the Letters-to-a-PreScientist Program. It is incredibly fun learning about these kids, sharing my science journey with them, and inspiring them to pursue a career in STEM fields.
- I will be attending the 240th Meeting of the AAS in Pasadena, California in June! Look for me there if you want to learn more about my work on the blazar variability at high temporal resolution.
- I am currently writing a paper on how one can use a technique called survival analysis to include lower and upper limits in summary statistics, specifically for me in the brightness temperatures of emitting regions in the jets of blazars.
- My most recent work, tracking the jet kinematics of a sample of gamma-ray emitting blazars, was accepted to the Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series. Check it out at the ApJS site!
- Several of my collaborators have had recently accepted papers, including emission line variability in the blazar 1156+295 (Hallum et al. 2022), a new jet feature related to TeV flaring in OJ 287 (Lico et al. 2022), and seeing what’s going on in the radio jet of S4 0716+710 (Kim et al. 2022).
Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. – Lawrence Krauss