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Physics and Astronomy Astrophysics

Research in the astronomy & astrophysics program usually falls into topics related to gravitational physics, sources for gravitational waves, stars, galaxies, galaxy formation and chemical enrichment, and cosmology. Students in the astrophysics program are involved in at least one research project that tackles a problem at the current edge of human understanding.

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Research on strong-gravity systems and gravitational wave sources, led by Dr. Matthew Duez. These are three snapshots in time from a numerical simulation of a neutron star being shredded by the tidal gravitational force of a black hole.

Research on detection of gravitational wave signals from the LIGO observatory, led by Dr. Sukanta Bose and adjunct professor Fred Raab, LIGO head. WSU is the nearest major university to the Hanford detector pictured here.

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Research on general relativity and the production of gravitational waves, led by Dr. Sukanta Bose. Click on the thumbnail for an enlarged view of the gravity waves expected from a close pair of black holes whose orbits are decaying because of the energy lost through gravity wave emission.

Research on galaxy merging and formation histories, led by Dr. Guy Worthey. The pair of interacting galaxies is the large spiral M 51 (or NGC 5194) plus its companion NGC 5195.

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Research on STEM Pedagogy, led by Dr. Michael Allen

Research on stars and stellar populations by recent postdoc alumnus Dr. Hyun-chul Lee. This image of globular cluster M10 was obtained by Till Credner and Sven Kohle of Hohner List Observatory.

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Research galaxy collisions, by postdoc alumnus Nathan Hearn. This simulation shows the wave of material in a disk galaxy pushed outwards after a collision with the (yellow) spheroidal galaxy.