Born and raised in MN, I cannot seem to escape the wonders of the Midwest. I received my B.A. in physics and mathematics from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008, while also vaulting my way to the Division III National Gymnastics Championships. I went on to receive my Ph.D. in astrophysics from the University of MN in 2013 under the guidance of Evan Skillman. My thesis involved numerous ground-based observing adventures, and focused on spectroscopic studies of local star-forming dwarf and spiral galaxies using direct abundance measures. After, I returned to GAC as a visiting physics faculty in the Fall of 2013, where I enjoyed an immersive teaching and mentoring experience.
Currently, I am an astrophysics postdoctoral researcher at The Ohio State University. I work with Rick Pogge on the CHAOS project to study the chemical abundance patters across the faces of spiral galaxies using ultraviolet (UV), optical, and infrared (IR) spectra of nebular gas. In comparison to abundances from blue supergiants, CHAOS is helping test the abundance discrepancy problem and determine an absolute abundance anchor for the local universe.
I am also interested in the evolution of galaxies, both near and far. With Dawn Erb at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, I have studied in detail the rest-frame UV and optical emission and absorption line properties of a few distant lensed galaxies. The study of UV emission lines, especially carbon and oxygen lines, has become a niche of mine, as I continue to build a sample of galaxies with C, N, and O measurements and models in order to understand the nucleosynthetic production methods and stellar feedback that produces the observed abundance trends.
Many of the best observations of UV emission-line spectra come from nearby, metal-poor, high ionization dwarf galaxies. This has lead me to discover galaxies with extreme emission line properties, including the largest equivalent width detections of nebular HeII and CIV emission amongst z~0 galaxies. Owing to the very hard ionizing radiation fields that necessarily accompany these galaxies, I have suggested these targets as a new class of high-z analogues that can help us study the sources responsible for cosmic reionization (e.g., extremely massive stars, stripped stars, high- mass X-ray binaries, etc.).
When I am not pondering profound astronomical questions, or soaking up the beauties of the night sky, I love to travel and play. I have a general goal to visit one new country a year and to keep exploring places that challenge me physically or emotionally. Whether on the trail or on a spin bike, I am always up for a good sweat. You can occasionally find me leading the pack at Cycle614 in Columbus, OH or on the walls of lululemon in Milwaukee, WI.
life beyond astronomy || instagram: @danielle.cycle614
Danielle A. Berg
The Ohio State University
140 West 18th Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210