- Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Chicago, 1977
Areas of Specialty
Planet formation, planet evolution, protoplanetary disks, circumstellar disks, debris disks, star formation, infrared instrumentation
My research emphasizes the determination of the detailed structure of circumstellar disks around fairly young stars, those less than a few tens of millions of years old. Disks around stars younger than a million years old are likely still coalescing into planets, and determination of the disk structure provides constraints on the planet-forming environment, particularly the densities and temperatures of the coalescing solids and the shape of the disk. The tools that I use for this research are mid-infrared cameras many of which my team and I at the University of Florida have built. These include OSCIR, T-ReCS, and most recently CanariCam for the 10.4-meter Gran Telescopio Canarias on La Palma in the Canary Islands, Spain. These instruments help fulfill my goal of building the tools that make my ideas come alive.
I am a Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Florida. I received my PhD in Astronomy and Astrophysics in 1977 from the University of Chicago flying on the Kuiper Airborne Observatory under the guidance of my advisor Al Harper. After a short time at MIT, I went to the University of Hawaii in Manoa as a staff astronomer on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility, which took me frequently and happily to Mauna Kea. Thereafter, I moved to NASA Ames Research Center, then to NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. In 1995, after 12 years at NASA, I joined the faculty at the University of Florida, where I established the Astronomical Instrumentation Program.