University of California, San Diego

Center for Astrophysics & Space Sciences


    Recent & Distinguished

    Astrophysics Graduates

The Department of Physics was the first academic department when UCSD was established as a University in the early 1960s, and Astrophysics faculty and students have been present from the creation. The first Astrophysics PhDs graduated in the late 1960s. The following list contains ALL CASS/Physics PhD recipients since 1990 and the majority of recipients for the past 25 years.

Information on Graduate Study in Astrophysics within CASS.

Assistant Professor, MIT
Graduate Year Thesis Topic Current Position
Dr. Kev Abazajian 2001 Neutrino Cosmology and Astrophysics Research Associate, Fermilab
Dr. Tom Barlow 1993 Variability of Broad Absorption-Line QSOs Research Scientist, IPAC/Caltech
Dr Gregory Benford 1967 Nuclear Magnetic Relaxation in High Magnetic Fields by Plasma Modes and Impurity States Prof. Physics, Univ. Calif., Irvine
Award-Winning Science Fiction Author
Dr. George R. Blumenthal 1971 Astrophysical Applications of High-energy Electromagnetic Phenomena Professor of Astronomy & Astrophysics, UCSC
Dr. H. Brian Bowman 1994 A Study of Galactic Structure in X-rays and Gamma-rays V. Asst. Prof, Rose-Hulman Inst. of Tech
Dr. Michael S. Briggs 1991 Observations of Galactic Positron Annihilation Radiation Research Physicist, NASA/Marshall Space Flt. Ctr.
Dr. David Brin 1980 Evolution of Cometary Nuclei as Influenced by a Dust Component Hugo & Nebula Award-Winning Author
Dr. Mitchell Brittnacher 1995 A Linear Analysis of Tearing Instability in Magnetotail Equilibria Research Scientist. Univ. Washington
Dr. Robert L. Brown 1969 Interstellar Absorption of X-rays by Photoionization of Helium and Molecular Hydrogen Associate Director, National Radio Astronomy Observatory
Dr. Scott Burles 1997 Measurement of the D/H Ratio in QSO Absorption Systems Assistant Professor, MIT
Dr. Christian Y. Cardall 1997 Limits on Neutrino Mixing Parameters from Nucleosynthesis in the Big Bang and Supernovae Postdoctoral Fellow, State University of New York, Stonybrook
Dr. Kai-Wing Chan 1990 Nucleosynthetic Gamma-ray Lines and Positrons from Supernovae Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Wayne Coburn 2001 A study of magnetic fields of accreting x-ray pulsars with the Rossi x-ray timing explorer Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Berkeley
Dr. James Cordes 1975 Pulsar Microstructure: Time Scales, Spectra, Polarization, and Radiation Models Prof. Astronomy, Cornell Univ.
Dr. Donald P. Cox 1970 Calculations of Cooling Rates and Spectral Emission of Gaseous Nebulae Professor of Physics, University of Wisconsin
Dr. Charles D. Dermer 1984 Physics of Nonmagnetic Relativistic Thermal Plasmas Research Astrophysicist, Naval Research Lab
Dr. George H. Fisher 1984 Radiative Hydrodynamics of Flare Loops Heated by Impulsive Bursts of Energetic Electrons Research Physicist, Space Sciences Lab, UCB
Dr. Brendan Fisher 1994 High Time-resolution Infrared Imaging of Jupiter Staff Member, JPL/Caltech
Dr. Lyle Ford 1996 Spectral properties of Gamma Ray Bursts Observed by BATSE Asst. Prof., Univ. Wisconsin (Eau Claire)
Dr. William Forrest 1974 Circumstellar Grains and the Intrinsic Polarization of Starlight Prof. Astronomy, Univ. Rochester
Dr. Todd A. Gunkler 1983 Observations and Analysis of Solar Flares using Ha Spectral Profiles Professor, Delta College
Dr. Richard J. Harms 1976 Digicon Spectrophotometry of the Lambda Orion HII Region President, RJH Scientific
PI, HST Faint Object Spectrograph
Dr. Xin-Min Hua 1986 Neutron and 2.223 MeV Gamma-ray Line Emission from Solar Flares Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flt Center
Dr. Karsten Jedamzik 1993 The Small-scale Structure of the Early Universe Research Scientist, Max Planck Institut fur Astrophysik (Garching)
Dr. Young-Dae Jung 1990 Photoionization of Many-Electron Atoms Associate Professor, Hanyang University
Dr. Vesa Junkkarinen 1980 Broad Absorption-Line QSOs Research Physicist, UCSD
Dr. Frederick K. Knight 1981 X-ray and Gamma-ray Observations of Pulsed Emission from Radio Pulsars Research Scientist, MIT Licoln Laboratory
Dr. Paul LeVan 1983 Near Infrared Spectrophotometry of Seyfert Galaxies and planetary Nebulae in Helium 10830 Staff Scientist, AF Geophysics Research Lab
Dr. Charles Lindsey 1975 An Infrared Continuum Study of the Solar Atmosphere Staff Astronomer, National Solar Observatory
Dr. Gail McLaughlin 1996 Physics of Massive stars and Supernovae: Weak Interactions and Stability Analysis Assistant Professor, North Carolina State University,Raleigh
Dr. David Marsden 1999 X-ray observations of soft gamma-ray repeaters Postdoctoral Fellow, SIO/UCSD
Dr. K. Michael Merrill 1976 Infrared Spectrophotometry and Radiative Transfer in Optically Thick Circumstellar Dust Envelopes Staff Astronomer, National Optical Astronomical Observatories
Dr. Thomas R. Metcalf 1990 Flare Heating and Ionization of the Low Solar Chromosphere Physicist, Solar Astrophysics Laboratory, Lockheed-Martin
Dr. David Moore 1994 Narrow-line Region Kinematics in Seyfert Nuclei Industry
Dr. Richard Mushotzky 1976 Observations of Hard X-rays from Extragalactic Objects Senior Astrophysicist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Patrick Nolan 1982 Hard X-ray Emission from Galactic Black Hole Candidates Senior Res Scientist, Stanford University
Dr. Kenneth H. Nordsieck 1972 A Dust-Radiation Instability in Ionized Nebulae, the Angular Momentum of Spiral Galaxies, and a Search for Circular Polarization in Extragalactic Objects Professor of Astronomy, Univ. of Wisconsin
Dr. Abraham L. Oren 1995 Faraday Rotation in Quasar Absorption Systems Industry
Dr. William Paciesas 1978 Hard X-ray Variability in Binary X-ray Sources Research Prof., Univ. Alabama, Huntsville
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Dr. Robert Piña 1994 An Array Camera for Mid-infrared Astronomical Imaging with Application to Extragalactic Astronomy and New Methods in Bayesian Image Reconstruction Asst. Prof., U. Florida, Gainsville
Dr. Jason Prochaska 1998 The Physical Properties of Damped Ly-Alpha Systems: A Keck HIRES Investigation Assistant Professor, UC Santa Cruz
Dr. Richard Puetter 1980 Observations and Interpretation of the Emission-Line Spectra of Quasi-stellar Objects Research Physicist, UCSD
Dr. Yong-Zhong Qian 1993 Flavor-Mixing Effects of Cosmologically Significant Neutrinos on Supernova Dynamics and Nucleosynthesis Asst. Prof. Physics, U. Minnesota
Dr. Yoel Rephaeli 1977 X-ray Emission from Clusters of Galaxies Professor, Tel Aviv University
Dr. Jose Rodriguez-Espinosa 1985 Infrared Studies of Seyfert Galaxies and the Irregular Galaxy M82 Senior Scientist, Inst. Astrofisica Canarias
Dr. Ray W. Russell 1978 An Analysis of Infrared Spectra of Gaseous Nebulae with an Emphasis on NGC 7027 Research Astronomer, Aerospace Corporation
Dr. Neda Safizadeh 2001 Detection of Extrasolar Planets via Microlensing and Occultation Postgraduate Fellow, UCSD/CASS
Dr. James Sarmecanic 1997 Physical and Chemical Properties of Cometary Dust Derived from Modeling of Mid-infrared Imaging Observations Industry
Dr. Yang Soong 1988 A Study of the Temporal Spectral Behavior of Hercules X-1: A Binary X-ray Pulsar Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Virginia Wang 1994 Gamma-ray Burst Repetition: Biases, Evidence & Implications Asst Prof, Claremont Colleges
Dr. William Wheaton 1975 Observation of the Galactic Hard X-ray Background from OSO-7 Staff Scientist, IPAC/Caltech
Dr. Donna S. Womble 1992 The Extent and Content of Low-Ionization Gas in Galaxies Monterey Instutute for Research in Astronomy
Dr. Dennis Zhang 1993 A Test of Cosmic Ray Interplanetary Transport Theory Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute for Geophysics & Planetary Physics, UCLA
Dr. Wei Zheng 1986 Time Variations of Emission Lines in Quasi-stellar Objects Research Physicist, Johns Hopkins University

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