Y.R.F.: Science


My area of research is comets and asteroids, which I have been studying since 1994. I am interested in the composition and physical properties of these objects, and how they compare to each other and other objects in the Solar System. Why? Because Small Bodies can tell us about the origin of the Solar System -- what were the compositional and thermophysical conditions in the solar nebula and in the protoplanetary disk? Understanding the origin of the Solar System is the overall "big picture" question that I (and many planetary scientists) work toward. However to understand what the small bodies tell us about our origins, we need to know what has happened to these objects in the intervening 4.6 billion years sinice they formed. In other words, I study cometary and asteroidal evolution. This is not an easy task, but it is an interesting question in its own right, and it is critical if we are to make sense of what the Solar System is like today.

The experimental methods that I use almost always involve telescopes, both on the ground and in space. I primarily work at visible and infrared wavelengths, but have also done radio experiments as well. Here're some projects I'm working on either as PI or as coI, in no particular order:


Currently my group here at UCF is relatively small: three graduate students (Jenna Jones, Charles Schambeau, Mary Hinkle) and one undergraduate student (Seamus Anderson). However I collaborate with others here at UCF and with many folks around the U.S. and Europe. If you are an undergraduate or graduate student looking to go into astronomy, and if comets and asteroids interest you, feel free to contact me about coming to UCF.

updated august 2016

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