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Astrophysicist Beth Willman
Astrophysicist Beth Willman

Astrophysicist Beth Willman to join Haverford Physics & Astronomy

Starting fall 2008, astrophysicist Beth Willman will join our Physics and Astronomy departments as an assistant professor. Willman uses both observational and computational techniques to study near-field cosmology.  This field is based on using galaxies in the nearby Universe as tracers of dark matter and as fossil records of the process of galaxy formation from the earliest times until now. Willman writes: "From the recent discoveries of nearly twenty tiny galaxies with luminosities lower than previously thought possible (up to 10 million times less luminous than the Milky Way itself) to the unprecedented level of realism with which galaxy formation can now be simulated, this field has exploded within the last few years.  The incredible detail with which only local galaxies can be studied make the near-field a unique place to pursue answers to big cosmological questions."  Beth's specialties are searching for and studying the least luminous galaxies in the Universe, and simulations of galaxy formation.

Willman was an undergraduate astrophysics major at Columbia University and obtained her Astronomy PhD in 2003 from University of Washington working with her advisor Julianne Dalcanton and with Fabio Governato. Since September 2006, she has been a Clay Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.  Before that, she was a James Arthur Fellow at New York University's Center for Cosmology and Particle Physics.  Beth will teach at all levels in the astronomy and physics curriculum, including a new upper-level course on Modern Galactic Astronomy, as well as involve students in her astrophysics research.

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