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Physics and Astronomy Michael Allen

Michael L Allen

Professor of astronomy, career track

Professional interests

  • STEM pedagogy related to backwards design, peer instruction, and assessment-driven learning
  • robotic telescopes and student education


  • core coursework in the Physics & Astronomy major
  • history & philosophy of science in the Honors College
  • first-year level breadth requirements for non-majors
  • senior-level science capstone


  • academic advising in Physics & Astronomy, and in General Studies: General Physical Sciences
  • public outreach via the WSU planetarium and observatory, and with the Palouse Astronomical Society
  • curriculum development & assessment committees at the departmental and college level

Education & Experience

Selected publications

With undergrads as co-authors

Ritterby, C, and Allen, ML. “Infrared distance to WZ Hya.” Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, 51, 2023.

Fickle, J, and Allen, ML. “BViz photometry of the RR Lyrae star RU Ceti”. Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, 50(1), 55, 2022.

Teaching & learning

Allen, ML. “The Moon – What’s it made of? Where did it come from?” National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, 2019.

Joyner, H., and Allen, ML. “Humans in space: developing a sustainable food supply on Mars,” National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science, 2015.

Allen, Michael L., and Diane O. Kelly-Riley, “Promoting undergraduate critical thinking in astro 101 lab exercises,” Astronomy Education Review , 4(2), 10, 2005. doi: 10.3847/AER2005017


Biermann, PL, Kronberg, PP, Allen, ML, Meli, A, Seo, E-S. “The Origin of the Most Energetic Galactic Cosmic Rays: Supernova Explosions into Massive Star Plasma Winds”. Galaxies (2019), 7, 48. doi: 10.3390/galaxies7020048

Selected presentations


Michael Allen


Office: Pullman campus, Webster Physical Sciences 1246
E-mail: mlfa at

Areas of expertise:  STEM education, astronomy

Link to the astro-imaging lab at WSU

Link to Google scholar page