Research

 

What do you do?

I am a visiting assistant professor at Haverford College’s Physics and Astronomy Department.  Most days I work with Beth Willman and some of the great undergraduates here on a bunch of projects, including mapping out the outer reaches of the Milky Way, determining the planet yield from LSST and many studies on low-mass stars in SDSS.


My research has three primary goals:

  1. 1)Understanding low-mass star formation in the Milky Way

  2. 2)Mapping out the Milky Way’s disks and halo

  3. 3)Determining empirical calibrations for the metallicity and ages of low-mass stars

Technical Links

  1. My CV


  1. Recent ADS Abstracts

  2. Thesis


  1. Template Data

  2. UGSP 0722 Data

What did you do?


  1. I’ve helped organize two Cool Stars splinter sessions on the Ages of Low-Mass Stars and the Metallicities of M dwarfs.


  1. I was a postdoc at Penn State’s Astronomy & Astrophysics department from 2010 to 2012.  There I worked with Kevin Luhman and Suvrath Mahadevan on projects concerning the properties of low-mass stars.


  1. From 2008 to 2010 I was a postdoc at MIT’s Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research.  I worked with Adam Burgasser, Andrew West, Jackie Faherty and Rob Simcoe on studies of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. 

I also worked on a data reduction software package for the FIRE echellette spectrograph, currently installed at the Baade telescope at the Magellan Observatories.   This work is primarily in collaboration with Rob Simcoe.  We also produced a data reduction package for the MAGE spectrograph


  1. I was a graduate student at the University of Washington’s Astronomy Department.  I primarily collaborated with Suzanne Hawley, Neill Reid, Kevin Covey and Andrew West

  2. Most of my research used data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey along with the Two-Micron All Sky Survey to investigate the properties of nearby low-mass stars.  I am interested in both their intrinsic properties and their use as tracers of local Galactic structure and kinematics.  My thesis research was a “stellar census”  (the field luminosity and mass function) of M dwarfs.  You can read my thesis here.

  3. M dwarfs are the most common star in the Milky Way (and probably the Universe).  Here is a movie showing a random patch of the sky
    (1 square degree).  The M dwarfs in the frame are highlighted, with each step corresponding to one magnitude in brightness. 

  4. Even though they are faint, surveys such as SDSS have observed millions of M dwarfs.  In this movie, constructed with the aid of Brian Abbott of AMNH, one million M dwarfs from my thesis survey are displayed.  These stars can be used to trace both the density and potential of the Milky Way.

  5. As an undergraduate at Villanova University’s Astronomy Department, I worked primarily on the Sun in Time project.  I also was a SARA REU student at the Florida Institute of Technology, where I worked on white dwarfs.