Hubble Research Wins TTU Professor Sigma Xi Honors

The tools used in Tennessee Technological University chemistry professor Robert Glinski's research orbit about 370 miles above the planet, but his Hubble Space Telescope research has netted him an earthly reward.

Tennessee Tech's chapter of Sigma Xi, the international scientific research society, recently named Glinski the winner of its 1998 Sigma Xi Research Award for his paper analyzing data gathered by the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph, which is mounted on the Hubble.

"Dr. Glinski's work is considered highly significant by his peers," said Scott Northrup, Tennessee Tech chemistry department's interim chairperson. "His work will help other scientists assess the validity of their work and models."

According to NASA, astronomers use the Goddard spectrograph to get very detailed information on an object's chemical make up as well as motions within an object, such as the way a star is blasted apart in a supernova or the way gas is swirling in a bright galaxy to help them find evidence for black holes. The spectrograph looks totally within the ultraviolet part of a spectrum.

Scientists studying these masses of interstellar dust or gas have formed a model to explain the origin and evolution of these far-off gleaming "clouds." Glinski's paper analyzes the Red Rectangle spectra data collected by the spectrograph. This information will help scientists validate their model.

Since joining the Tennessee Tech faculty in 1986, he has published more than 20 articles in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology Applied Spectroscopy and others. This April, he traveled to Nottingham, England, to make a presentation on "Chemistry and Physics of Molecules and Grains in Space" at the Faraday Discussion of the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Glinski's paper, "Temperature and Velocity Diagnostics of the Red Rectangle From UV Spectra of CO and CI," was published in the December 1997 issue of the internationally prestigious Astrophysical Journal.