Theoretical Astrophysics and Observational Astronomy

Theoretical Astrophysics (Group Web Site)

Vassiliki Kalogera  [Kalogera personal page]
Professor Kalogera is interested in compact objects (white dwarf stars, neutron stars, black holes) -- especially when they are in binary star systems. General relativity predicts that such systems should emit gravity waves, thus forcing the stellar partners to slowly spiral inward until they collide. Kalogera is part of a large experiment, LIGO, which is attempting to detect gravity waves.

Yoram Lithwick
Professor Lithwick works on a variety of topics in theoretical and computational astrophysics. He is especially interested in planet formation, including both the early and late stages of this process. For the early stages, he is interested in the dynamics of the gas disk that surrounds a newly-formed star, and for the late stages he is interested in how planetesimals accumulate into planets, and what sets the architecture of the resulting planetary system. Other topics he works on include the formation of cosmological dark matter haloes, MHD turbulence, and gamma-ray bursts.

Frederic Rasio  [Rasio personal page]
Professor Rasio is interested in the dynamics of dense stellar systems, hydrodynamic stellar interactions, relativistic astrophysics, the dynamics of binary and multiple star systems, radio pulsar timing and applications, and extrasolar planetary systems.

Ron Taam
Professor Taam's research focuses on understanding the physics of compact sources (white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes) by studying the nature, origin, and evolution of close binary systems in which a white dwarf or neutron star captures matter and angular momentum from a companion star.

Observational Astronomy (Group Web Site)

David Meyer  [Meyer personal page]
Professor Meyer's research specialty is the study of interstellar and extragalactic gas clouds through ultraviolet and optical absorption-line spectroscopy. Over the past several years, he has focused on problems involving the small-scale structure of the interstellar medium (ISM) and the elemental abundance patterns of the Galactic ISM and quasar absorption-line systems.

Giles Novak
Professor Novak observes the polarization of infrared and sub-millimeter thermal emission from magnetically aligned interstellar dust grains. The resulting magnetic field maps are being used to determine the role of magnetic fields in diverse environments such as the Galactic center, giant molecular clouds, and star-forming regions.

Mel Ulmer
Professor Mel Ulmer's research concentrates on the formation and evolution of clusters of galaxies using X-ray, optical, and infrared observations. Of particular interest are the physical characteristics of the intracluster gas, the possible existence of cooling flows and the X-ray and gamma-ray observations of pulsars.

Farhad Yusef-Zadeh  [Yusef-Zadeh personal page]
Professor Yusef-Zadeh uses radio, infrared and X-ray telescopes to study phenomena that has been observed in the rich, complex center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Understanding the nature of the phenomena in the Galactic center can improve our overall view of how the central engines (thought to be massive black holes) in Active Galactic Nuclei derive their power and characteristics.

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August 26, 2013