Sample Masters Degree projects at Iowa State

Faculty participating in the MS in Astrophysics program include the following; please feel free to contact us directly to inquire about the possibility of doing research with them:

L. A. Willson (email) has been studying variable stars, particularly the Mira and Symbiotic variables that include stars much like the Sun will be in six or seven billion years. Her work ranges from using detailed model calculations to analyzing basic data, including light curves and spectra. Possible MS projects include analysis of variable stars in large data bases, development of algorithms for including more physics in numerical models, and interpretation of data from state-of-the-art measurements such as are obtained from stellar interferometry.

Steven Kawaler (email) works in areas relating to stellar structure and evolution, using both observational and theoretical techniques. In particular, he is interested in the use of multiperiodic pulsating stars to probe stellar interiors (through asteroseismology) and currently heads the Whole Earth Telescope - an international collaboration that obtains 24 hour/day photometry of rapid variations of white dwarfs and other evolved compact stars. Possible MS projects include participation in WET data acquisition and analysis; theoretical modeling of stars for comparison with oscillation data; development of instrumentation control software for CCD photometry; time-series analysis and modeling techniques for astrophysics.

Charles Kerton (email) conducts multiwavelength observational studies of the interstellar medium (ISM) of our Galaxy with a particular focus on star-forming regions and the effect of massive stars on the structure of the ISM. He is currently involved with a number of large-scale infrared and radio surveys of the Galactic ISM as part of the International Galactic Plane Survey. Possible MS projects include the analysis of data from the VLA Galactic Plane Survey, the investigation of cold neutral hydrogen features in the Cepheus star forming region, modelling of radio polarization features, and the analysis of submm observations of massive star forming regions.

Guillermo Gonzalez (email) specializes in quantitative stellar spectroscopy and the "astro" part of astrobiology. Possible MS projects include reduction and analysis of high-resolution spectra of Sun-like or evolved stars; optical surveys of supernova remnants in nearby galaxies; photometry of Type II Cepheids in globular clusters; completion of an instrument detect giant planets around nearby stars using the Doppler method; modelling of the Galactic Habitable Zone. Some of the data for these projects can be obtained at ISU's Fick Observatory, located about 20 miles from campus.

The following faculty are also available for consultation about Masters research projects:

Curt Struck (email): Extragalactic Astronomy

Martin Pohl (email): Particle Astrophysics

David Carter-Lewis (email): TeV Gamma Ray Astronomy

Frank Krennrich (email): Particle Astrophysics


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