Proposal Presentation

Project: Looking for Dark Matter in the Rotation Curves of the Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram

Department of Natural Sciences: Physics

Project adviser:  Dr. Scott Schneider

Presented by: Ceré L. Rettig


Ceré L. Rettig June 2014

Project Objectives:

  • Research galaxy rotation curves for the six different types of spiral galaxies.
  • Investigate mathematical models for ordinary matter and dark matter to generate rotation curves.
  • Research genetic algorithms.
  • Study Dane Falberg’s programing with genetic algorithms.
  • Create the software, to fit galaxy rotation.
  • If time is available see if this process can be done with lenticular galaxies.

Dane Falberg is another student at Lawrence Technological University who is working on an astrophysics project advised by Dr. Scott Schneider.  I will use his project to understand and build my own genetic algorithm program using java for this project that I will be able to use and modify for this project.

Where did the idea come from?

The idea of doing a galaxy rotation curve project for the different types of spiral galaxies while accounting for dark matter came from Dr. Scott Schneider.  The idea of using genetic algorithms came from: P. Charbonneau, The Astrophysical Journal Supplemental Series 309, 101 (1995).  I decided to bring it all together with the Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram because it is a general galaxy diagram that works for this project.

Hubble Tuning Fork Galaxy Diagram

What is dark matter?

Dark matter accounts for effects that appear to be the result of mass where such mass cannot be seen.  It attracts or exerts a gravitational inward pull on the visible matter surrounding it.

Are we sure it is not dark energy?

Yes, because dark energy repels or pushes outward.

What is a galaxy rotation curve?

Galaxy rotation curves are a graphical analysis obtained from the magnitude of the orbital velocities of visible stars in a particular galaxy and their radial distance from the galaxies center, typically depicted with a scatter plot.

What does this look like?


Similar to Dr. Scott's in office drawing.

Thank you Dr. Julie Zwiesler-Vollick for pointing out unlike the first graph (the one in my midterm presentation) the one I drew and used in my proposal presentation does not have the axes labeled.

What is a genetic algorithm?

Genetic algorithms are a quick computational approach using evolution through natural selection. They are often used in computer science, artificial intelligence and computer-aided engineering design but not as often in physical sciences. In this project they will be used as a quick but effective approach to solving mathematical equations.

A special thanks to Len Hernandez for attending my presentation!

Faculty: Dr. Shannon TimmonsDr. Julie Zwiesler-VollickDr. Nicole VilleneuveJeffery Morrissette, student presentations.

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 Proposal Presentation Dark Matter in the Rotation Curves FINAL

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Proposal Presentation Evaluation Rubric

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Proposal Presentation Evaluation_Cere Rettig

PSC 3001 Spring 2014 – Senior Project Proposal Requirements

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