Giles Novak

PhD, University of Chicago, 1988

NSF Faculty Early Career Development Award, 1997

Weinberg College Award for Excellence in Mentoring Undergraduate Research, 2012

Giles Novak's research is in the area of observational astrophysics and astrophysical instrumentation.  His research group is currently working on two instrumentation projects, called SHARP and BLAST-pol.  Both are aimed at key questions in star formation research:  What sets the rate at which new stars are born?  What factors determine the masses of stars?

SHARP is a fore-optics module that provides polarimetric capability to the SHARC-II camera at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory, located on the 14,000-foot summit of Mauna Kea.  A key aim of ongoing SHARP observations is to reveal the structure of interstellar magnetic fields in molecular cloud cores containing embedded protostars.  Some theories predict that these cloud fields control the process of gravitational collapse, and SHARP is testing the theories by observing fields on thousand-AU scales.

BLAST-pol is a balloon-borne experiment currently under construction by astronomers in U.S., U.K., and Canada, for launch from Antarctica.  BLAST-pol will map magnetic fields over entire molecular clouds, and the degree of order in these maps will provide a new diagnostic of the magnetic field strength, a key unknown in star formation research.

To learn more, see the SHARP home page, the BLAST-Pol home page, and page 4 of the February 2009 Northwestern Research Newsletter.  Also, see Novak's Curriculum Vita.

Selected Publications

  • N. L. Chapman, J. A. Davidson, P. F. Goldsmith, M. Houde, W. Kwon, Z.-Y. Li, L. W. Looney, B. Matthews, T. G. Matthews, G. Novak, R. Peng, J. E. Vaillancourt, and N. H. Volgenau
    Alignment Between Flattened Protostellar Infall Envelopes and Ambient Magnetic Fields
    Astrophysical Journal 770, 151 (2013)
  • M. Attard, M. Houde, G. Novak, H. Li, J. E. Vaillancourt, C. D. Dowell, J. A. Davidson, and H. Shinnaga
    Magnetic Fields and Infall Motions in NGC 1333 IRAS 4
    Astrophysical Journal 702, 1584 (2009)
  • H. Li, C.D. Dowell, L. Kirby, G. Novak, and J.E. Vaillancourt
    Design and Initial Performance of SHARP, a Polarimeter for the SHARC-II Camera at the Caltech Submillimeter Observatory
    Applied Optics 47, 422 (2008)
  • M. Krejny et al.
    The Hertz/VPM polarimeter: Design and First Light Observations
    Applied Optics 47, 4429 (2008)
  • H. Li, P. G. Calisse, D. T. Chuss, G. S. Griffin, M. Krejny, R. F. Loewenstein, M. G. Newcomb, and G. Novak
    Results of SPARO 2003:  Mapping Magnetic Fields in Giant Molecular Clouds
    Astrophysical Journal 648, 340 (2006)
  • G. Novak et al.
    First Results from the Submillimeter Polarimeter for Antarctic Remote Observations:  Evidence of Large-Scale Toroidal Magnetic Fields in the Galactic Center
    Astrophysical Journal 583, L83 (2003)
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August 26, 2013