Overview

A few thousand stars are visible to the unaided human eye--if you are at a dark site. Today, about a billion stars have been cataloged by astronomers, and we deduce that hundreds of billions of stars exist in our Galaxy. In turn, we know that the Milky Way is just one of hundreds of billions of galaxies in the observable universe. Applying the tools of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science, we aim to understand the formation, evolution, interactions, and ultimate fate of stars and galaxies. New technologies now allow planets around stars to be detected, allowing us to finally measure their properties instead of merely guess at them.

The pictures above are an artist's (Dr. Robert Hurt) visualization to scale of what we believe the Sun, a very-low-mass (M9 dwarf) star, an L-type brown dwarf, a T-type brown dwarf, and the planet Jupiter would look like if we could line them all up. It's odd but true that the smallest stars, the largest planets, and the brown dwarfs in between are all about the same size even though the star is eighty times more massive than Jupiter! The picture below is an artist's (Rob Gizis) concept of the L1 dwarf star WISEP J190648.47+401106.8. Using the Kepler space telescope and Gemini-North telescope, I led a team that observed powerful white lights for the first time on this type of star.

As a faculty member at the University of Delaware, I aim to advance the frontiers of scientific knowledge, to communicate what and how we have learned to students, and to train new scientists so that "the immense advances in science" continue in the next generation.

My office is Room 236 in Sharp Lab. You can phone me at 302-831-2668 or write me at 104 The Green, Newark DE 19716, but I recommend e-mailing me at gizis@udel.edu

Research

I am an observational astronomer who is primarily interested in very-low-mass stars and brown dwarfs. These objects can emit photons over most of the electromagnetic spectrum, so many different telescopes are necessary to measure their properties. My current projects make use of X-Ray (NASA's Chandra Telescope), optical (Kepler/K2, Hubble), near-infrared (2MASS, IRTF) and mid-infrared (Spitzer Space Telescope, WISE, Herschel) telescopes. Recent projects included observing at the Kitt Peak 2.1-meter, IRTF 3-meter, MMT 6.5-meter, and Gemini North 8-meter telescopes, all awarded through national competition. I am even working on a radio (EVLA) project. I am proud to be contributing to the LSST project as a member of the Differential Astrometry Working Group and co-chair of the LSST Stars, Milky Way and Local Volume Science Collaboration Team. You can find more details at my research page.

Teaching

One of the pleasures of being in a Physics and Astronomy department is the opportunity to teach a great variety of courses. In Fall 2016, I'm teaching PHYS310 Introduction to Thermal Physics, typically taken by physics and engineering majors.In Spring 2017, I'm teaching PHYS333 Fundamentals of Astrophysics, a similar level class.

Service

Like all faculty, I contribute to self-governance at the national, college, and department level. Since the 2014-2015 academic years, I have been serving on the University Faculty Senate and the University General Education committee. I am chair of the College of Arts and Science Promotion and Tenure Committee for the 2016-2017 academic year. For fellow astronomers, I typically serve on two telescope time allocation committees and/or grant panels per year. I also referee several papers each year for professional astronomical journals. In 2014, I organized BDEXOCON, a conference about brown dwarfs and exoplanets, and we're planning to hold it again in October 2017.