Astronomy and Astrophysics
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Cal Poly Physics offers a minor program in astronomy for interested students. For more information, see this page.
Several of our faculty actively pursue research in astronomy and astrophysics (see list below). For more information, please visit the webpages of individual faculty and contact them directly.
The Cal Poly Astronomical Society is an on-campus student club, offering various social and leisure activities on and off campus related to astronomy. During the academic year, the club meets every other week. Anyone is welcome, regardless of their major. For more information, contact the club directly via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Dr. Louise Edwards is the current faculty advisor.
Cal Poly Observatory
Open for viewing to all Cal Poly students at certain days/times of the week (weather permitting). Please check this webpage https://sites.google.com/view/calpolyobservatory/home for more information (schedule, if it will be open, directions and what to bring). Space is limited to 20 students (first come, first serve); however, students who are visiting the observatory to fulfill a requirement of an astronomy class will have priority.
Learning Assistants in GE Astronomy
Some of the GE Astronomy classes (ASTR101, ASTR102) involve Learning Assistants (LAs). LAs are undergraduate students who assist the instructor in implementing student-centered class activities. They have taken the class previously and receive special concurrent preparation, both on content, as well as on effective STEM pedagogy. The LAs will be paid for their work with their peers. In particular, they help to answer student questions by facilitating student discussions. The instructors will meet with LAs on a weekly basis to discuss the course learning objectives, typical student difficulties, issues in facilitating student learning and to make sure they are well prepared to engage in peer-assisted learning. LAs will not only gain a much deeper understanding of the content, but also significant experience in teaching in a college classroom, particularly useful for those who are interested to explore teaching as a vocation. See here for more information (https://physics.calpoly.edu/learning-assistants).
Vardha N. Bennert
Active Galactic Nuclei
Black Hole Mass Scaling Relations and Their Evolution
Galaxy Interactions and Mergers
High-Energy Emission Mechanisms of Active Galactic Nuclei
Quantum gravity applied to the early Universe and Black Holes
N-body Gravitation and Orbits
Cosmological Entropy and the Arrow of Time
Black Hole Theory and Thermodynamics
The formation and Evolution of Brightest Cluster Galaxies
Galaxies in Cluster Cores and in Filaments
White Dwarf stars
Directional detection of dark matter
Instrumentation for rare event searches
Observational Astronomy: Extrasolar Planets
Early universe cosmology
The measure problem of eternal inflation
The problem of time in quantum gravity