Student Earns Degree in Gravity Instrument Studies

Giorgio Parzianello, a student visiting the TEPEE group at Harvard-Smithsonian, obtained a Ph.D in Mechanical Engineering at his home institution in February 2003 for his work with the group.

The title of his Ph.D. dissertation was "Design, optimization, verification and testing of scientific instruments in space environment." One section of the dissertation is devoted to the analysis of the differential accelerometer for testing the Equivalence Principle. The study includes: analyses of two different configurations for the instrument (a two-body and a three-body detector); a modal analysis of the two configurations; computation of elastic frequencies and their dependence on inertial and mechanical parameters. The dissertation then presents a complete dynamical model of the two configurations for evaluating the influence of initial conditions at release and other construction imperfections on the expected differential gravity signal.