Lyra Cao

CV — Lyra Cao

1. Education

The Ohio State University August 2017 - Present
Ph.D Candidate in Astronomy Expected: June 2023
Master of Science May 2021

California Institute of Technology September 2013 - June 2017
Bachelor of Science, Astrophysics
Thesis: The Effects of Accretion on the Age Spreads of Young Stars

2. Research Experience

2.1. The Ohio State University

June 2017 — ongoing Ph.D Candidate Prof. Pinsonneault

  • Developed a set of forward models to infer starpots from surveys of near-infrared and optical spectra for a broad range of masses in the APOGEE and SDSS V projects, with broad applications to stellar astrophysics.

  • Worked with the Yale Rotating Evolutionary Code (YREC) to calibrate rotating stellar models and predict the evolution of lithium depletion between 1.3-1.5 M_{\odot}.

  • Forward modelled the effects of starspots on the age trends and spreads in young clusters such as Upper Scorpius and Lambda Orionis.

  • Combined spectroscopic, kinematic, and photometric datasets with a suite of theoretical evolutionary models to investigate the stellar parameters of a young star forming region.

2.2. JPL

June 2016 — June 2017 SURF, Larson Foundation Scholar Dr. Friedson

  • Improved a dual-core rotating planetary asteroseismology model.

  • Found Rossby and inertial modes while varying the global rotation rate. Provided constraints on global and internal properties of Saturn from Cassini data.

2.3. Caltech

June 2015 — June 2017 SURF, Rose Hills Foundation Scholar, Senior Thesis Prof. Hillenbrand

  • Worked with the Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA) to study the effects of cold and hot accretion on one-dimensional models of star formation.

  • Developed time-dependent, hot and cold stellar accretion controls in MESA for a variety of pre-main sequence models.

2.4. Caltech

June 2014 — September 2014 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship Prof. Hillenbrand

  • Developed a Spectral Energy Distribution (SED) fitting technique and used Bayesian statistics to search for likely parameter values.

  • Implemented in the Caltech young star database, the Young Stellar Object Corral.

3. Papers

3.1. First Author Papers

  • Cao L., Pinsonneault M. H., Hillenbrand L. A., Kuhn M. A., 2022, ApJ, 924, 84. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ac307f

3.2. Contributing Author Papers

  • Somers, G., Cao, L., & Pinsonneault, M. H. 2020, ApJ, 891, 29. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/ab722e

3.3. Selected Manuscripts in Prep

  • Cao, L. & Pinsonneault, M. H. In preparation. Detecting Starspots in APOGEE Spectra.

  • Cao, L., Sharifi, K. & Pinsonneault, M. H. In preparation. The Pleiades Lithium Spread with Starspots.

  • Binks, A. S., Jeffries, R. D., Sacco, G. G, Jackson, R. J., Cao, L., +11. In preparation. The Gaia-ESO Survey: Can stellar models provide simultaneous fits to colour-magnitude diagrams and lithium depletion of young clusters?

  • Friedson, A. J., Cao, L., Xue, X., Broad, K., Ding, L. In preparation. Nonradial oscillations of Saturn: forcing of slow density waves in the C ring by inertial and rotational normal modes.

4. Talks & Conferences

4.1. Invited talks

Fifty Years of the Skumanich Relations (March 2022) — Invited Talk: “Detecting Starspots in APOGEE Spectra”

4.2. Leading work

SDSS V Collaboration Meeting, JHU (August 2021) — Contributed Talk: “Spots and Pre-MS Stellar Characterization from APOGEE DR17 Spectra”
Cool Stars 20.5, Virtual (March 2021) — Contributed Poster: “Age Spreads and Systematics in \lambda Orionis with Gaia DR2 and the SPOTS tracks ” (ADS)

4.3. Contributing

SciPy 2020 (July 2020) — Poster: “pynucastro: A Python Library for Exploring Nuclear Reaction Rates”
AAS DPS #48 (October 2016) — Poster: “A Study of Saturn’s Normal Mode Oscillations and Their Forcing of Density Waves in the Rings ” (ADS)

5. Teaching Experience

5.1. OSU/ASTRON 5681—Stellar Evolution

Spring 2022 GTA/Senior-level major course in stellar astrophysics. Prof. Pinsonneault

5.2. OSU/ASTRON 1141—Life in the Universe

Spring 2022 GTA/Course in basic astronomy for non-majors. Prof. Pinsonneault

5.3. OSU/ASTRON 3350—Methods of Astronomical Observation and Data Analysis

Fall 2021 GTA/Junior-level major course in computational astrophysics. Prof. Terndrup

5.4. OSU/ASTRON 2291—Basic Astrophysics & Planetary Astronomy

Fall 2021 GTA/Sophomore-level major course in the principles of astrophysics. Prof. Gaudi

5.5. OSU/ASTRON 1140—Planets and the Solar System

Spring 2019 GTA/Course in planetary and solar system astronomy for non-majors. Prof. Pinsonneault

5.6. OSU/ASTRON 1101 Lab—From Planets to the Cosmos

Spring 2019 GTA/Laboratory-based course in astronomy for non-majors. Prof. Ryden

5.7. OSU/ASTRON 1141—Life in the Universe

Fall 2018 GTA/Course in basic astronomy and astrobiology for non-majors. Prof. Johnson

5.8. OSU/ASTRON 1101 Lab—From Planets to the Cosmos

Fall 2018 GTA/Laboratory-based course in astronomy for non-majors. Prof. Leroy

5.9. Caltech/Ay 1—The Evolving Universe

Spring 2016 UTA/Course in basic astronomy for non-majors. Prof. Djorgovski

5.10. Caltech/Ph 5 Lab—Analog Electronics for Physicists

Fall 2014 & Fall 2015 UTA/Sophomore-level laboratory major course in analog electronics. Dr. Rice

6. Outreach

6.1. Polaris Mentorship Class

Fall 2021—Present

Improving the retention of underrepresented students in Physics and Astronomy at OSU.

  • Mentoring two diverse undergraduate students with exposure to the scientific literature to prepare them for research opportunities in Astronomy & Astrophysics, \sim2 hours/wk.

  • Preparing a suite of online Yale Rotating Evolutionary Code (YREC) stellar evolution modules as a research project for these two students; this will have both scientific and pedagogical applications as an interactive tool to teach stellar astrophysics.

6.2. Friends of Ohio State Astronomy & Astrophysics/Planetarium Shows

The Ohio State University

  • Gave introductory tours and met with interested members of the public for FOSAA events, presenting on guided sessions presenting interesting aspects of my research over lunch.

  • Presented planetarium programs at the Arne Slettebak Planetarium ranging from general astronomy to a program discussing the geophysics of planetary surfaces.

6.3. Event Supervisor Regional & State Science Olympiad

March 2014 — 2019

Astronomy C and/or Solar System B

Science Olympiad

  • Wrote tests, supervised events, and proctored exams for a variety of regional and states competitions in the Los Angeles Regionals, Southern California States, and the Columbus Regionals competitions from 2014—2019.

  • Gave a seminar in the Science Olympiad Summer Institute in July 2014 to introduce coaches to the focus of the Astronomy C event.

  • Provided individualized scientific and career feedback for middle and high school students.

7. Technical Strengths

Computer Languages Python, Fortran, IDL, C, Javascript, Clojure, SQL
Software & Tools FERRE, Synspec, Yale Rotating Evolutionary Code (YREC),
Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics (MESA),
IRAF/DS9, LaTeX, Mathematica, Jupyter