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Blue Waters Graduate Fellow: Iryna Butsky

The Blue Waters Graduate Fellowship was awarded to ten outstanding Ph.D. students in computational science. In this series we’re featuring brief introductions to who they are and what they’re trying to accomplish. This program serves to prepare the next generation of science researchers to solve the world’s problems. Follow along as we highlight these young researchers. Read more profiles here.

Tell me a little bit about yourself—where are you studying now, where did you do your undergrad, what was your major, etc.

I just finished my first year of my Ph.D. program in astronomy at the University of Washington. I got my bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Caltech. Before going to grad school, I took a gap year during which I did some research with Tom Abel’s group at Stanford. We studied the growth of the galactic magnetic field resulting from magnetized supernova feedback in galaxies.

Tell me about your research—what are you trying to accomplish? What made you want to pursue this topic?

I really enjoyed my research on galactic magnetic fields, and I wanted to pursue it further. I’m very interested in studying the contribution of cosmic rays to the turbulent dynamo which amplifies galactic magnetic fields. Cosmic rays are tricky to model in galaxy simulations and have thus oftentimes been ignored. However, they could be key to the explanation of the strength of observed field strengths.

So what was your process like getting involved with Blue Waters? What made you want to apply for this fellowship?

A couple of my professors encouraged me to apply for the fellowship. I thought it was a really exciting opportunity to do more independent research and get to work on Blue Waters!

How will the ability to use Blue Waters impact your research?

Blue Waters will provide me with the necessary funding and resources to carry out this research, which I would have otherwise not been able to work on.

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