We strongly encourage our graduate students to get involved with astronomical research as soon as possible, typically in their first semester in the program. We offer opportunities for both observational and theoretical projects in galaxy evolution, stellar populations, stellar physics, cosmology, and galactic dynamics. Students have access to our wide-field Schmidt telescope at Kitt Peak, Arizona, early access to data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, and access to CWRU’s high speed computing cluster. Examples of possible projects for incoming graduate students can be found here.
Aaron Watkins Aaron Watkins is using the Burrell Schmidt telescope, as well as archival multiwavelength data, to study the properties of the stars that shouldn’t be there: populations of stars living far beyond where they should be able to form. (Advisor: Chris Mihos)
Jay Franck is interested in identifying and studying protoclusters of galaxies very early in the Universe. A protocluster is a diffuse group of galaxies that will collapse into a gravitationally bound cluster after billions of years. Searching for more distant protoclusters is essentially watching the Universe assemble itself in reverse, and can tell astronomers how galaxy structures grow and evolve over time. (Advisor: Stacy McGaugh)
Pengfei Li is interested in “Dark Matter” or “Mass discrepancy” problem. He is exploring the Radial Acceleration Relation (RAR) for spiral galaxies and wants to use it to test various dark matter models and modified gravity theories. RAR can also potentially predict galaxies’ rotation curves and serve as a distance indicator. (Advisor: Stacy McGaugh)