- BA, Saint Olaf College
- PhD, Northwestern University
Awards, Honors, & Certifications:
- Joan G. McDonald Outstanding Teacher in Science Award, Xavier, 2003
- College of Science Distinguished Teaching Award, U. of Arizona, 1999
- Vulcan Materials Company Teaching Excellence Award, Wesleyan, 1997
- NASA Compton Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Michigan 1992-1994
My research in physics involves the theoretical study of astronomical phenomena. Although my interests in this field are broad, I have focused my efforts in the subfields of high-energy astrophysics and the dynamics of molecular clouds. My contributions to high-energy astrophysics have included the theoretical investigations of pulsars, gamma-ray bursts, soft-gamma repeaters, Active Galactic Nuclei, and most recently, the Galactic center.
These investigations involve the study of particle acceleration mechanisms at play in the given system and the resulting high-energy radiative signatures. My contributions to the field of molecular clouds include the study of soliton propagation in the interstellar medium and the study of linear MHD wave propagation and subsequent cloud support mechanisms. The emerging field of complexity theory promises to bring about a new revolution in the study of complex nonlinear systems.
I am eager to apply ideas emerging from this relatively young field to the study of the interstellar medium, a system that clearly satisfies the conditions required to exhibit both chaotic and ordered behavior. But what excites me most about complexity theory is its highly interdisciplinary nature. Indeed, the theory has been applied to the study of self-organization in evolution, the investigation of Belousov-Zhabotinski chemical reactions, and to economic and social systems.