Manhattanite named an Einstein Fellow

By Bryan Richardson

A Manhattan woman who is receiving her doctorate from Harvard University in May has been named one of 12 Einstein Fellows.

Laura Blecha, who graduated from Manhattan High School, was named one of the recipients of an Einstein Fellowship out of 189 applicants.

Blecha’s mother, Alice Blecha, lives in Topeka. Her father, Lynn Blecha, lives in Manhattan.

“The National Aeronautics and Space Administration-sponsored Einstein Fellowship Program provides an opportunity for highly qualified, recent postdoctoral scientists to conduct independent research that is broadly related to the science goals of the NASA Physics of the Cosmos program,” according to the Harvard website.

The fellowship provides support for up to three years at an annual stipend of about $66,500, plus health insurance, relocation costs and funding for research-related travel, computing needs and other research costs.

Blecha completed her bachelor’s degree at Northwestern University and a Masters in Philosophy degree at Cambridge University in England.

Her research concerns the behavior of supermassive black holes and their relationship with their host galaxies, particularly during galaxy mergers. As an Einstein Fellow, Blecha will use hydrodynamic simulations to model the electromagnetic signatures of black hole pairs during galaxy mergers.

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