Department Head: Dr. Leigh Smith
Undergraduate Director: Dr. Richard Gass
Graduate Director: Dr. Rostislav Serota
My interests center around the nature of interstellar, circumstellar, and interplanetary dust grains, and the role they play in the formation of planetary systems. In the past few years I have been investigating the emission characteristics of the grains in the dusty disks surrounding young stars, and how they are evolving as the stellar systems age. The particle sizes and compositions are being compared to those of the diffuse interstellar medium, cometary grains of our own solar system, and dust grains condensed in the laboratory. Most of my recent observational work has been carried out with the Broadband Array Spectrograph System (BASS) of The Aerospace Corporation on the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility.