Astronomy and Space Sciences

2014-15 Tuition

$29,500

Application deadlines

Fall, Dec. 15; no spring admission

Requirements summary

  • all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants
  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test
  • GRE subject test in physics
  • TOEFL minimum score of 600 paper-based or 250 computer-based

Degrees

  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Astronomy (Ph.D.)

Major concentrations

  • astronomy
  • astrophysics
  • cosmology
  • infrared astronomy
  • planetary studies
  • radio astronomy
  • radiophysics
  • space sciences [general]
  • theoretical astrophysics

Members of the staff are particularly interested in directing graduate research in the following subjects:

Astronomy and astrophysics. Relativity and cosmology; dynamics of the interstellar gas; evolution of planetary systems; magnetohydrodynamics; nuclear astrophysics; gravitational theory; X-ray sources; black holes; chemistry of interstellar medium; high energy astrophysics

Atmospheric and ionospheric radio investigations. Dynamics of the atmosphere and ionosphere; incoherent electron scattering; refraction, scattering, and attenuation due to the inhomogeneous nature of the troposphere and ionosphere; propagation of radio waves and ionized media

Infrared and optical astronomy. Spectroscopic studies of the interstellar medium, external galaxies, Galactic Center, star formation; development of novel instrumentation; observations from ground-based and airborne telescopes

Planetary studies. Observational, theoretical, and laboratory studies of planetary atmospheres, surfaces, and interiors; origins of planetary systems; exoplanets; spacecraft investigations such as Galileo, Mars Surveyor Magellan, Cassini and MER; investigations of asteroids, comets, and ring systems; solar-system dynamics; dynamics of planetary atmospheres; exobiology and prebiological organic chemistry

Radio astronomy. Distribution and properties of galaxies; radar investigations of the planets and asteroids; solar radio observations; studies of gaseous nebulae; interstellar radio lines; radio galaxies, quasars, and pulsars; interstellar molecular clouds and star-forming regions

Space vehicle instrumentation. Instrumentation relating to solar-system exploration, including cameras and spectral mappers; infrared observations from airplanes and satellites

Graduate students in this field may be connected with the Cornell University Center for Radiophysics and Space Research or the Cornell-operated National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the site of the world's largest radar-radio telescope. Students often conduct thesis or dissertation research at Palomar or Arecibo, or at other major observatories. In addition, members of the department are PIs on the Mars Rover NASA mission and the Spitzer Infrared Telescope, which is the last of the four NASA great observatories (Hubble, Chandra and Crompton GRO were the first three). Additional details on these organizations and facilities are in brochures available from the respective organizations or the graduate field office.

Application Applicants should have a strong background in electrical engineering, engineering physics, mathematics, or physics. Applicants are required to submit GRE general test scores and GRE physics subject test scores; these are often of great help in admitting outstanding students from less well-known institutions. A minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper-based) or 250 (computer-based) is required.

Rachel Bean -- Concentrations: theoretical astrophysics; Research interests: theoretical astrophysics; cosmology
James Bell -- Concentrations: space sciences [general]; astronomy; Research interests: Mars exploration; asteroids; comets; surface mineralogy; data reduction and calibration
Joseph Burns -- Concentrations: planetary studies; space sciences [general]; Research interests: solar system physics; celestial mechanics; small solar system bodies
Donald Campbell -- Concentrations: planetary studies; radio astronomy; Research interests: radar astronomy; surfaces of planets and satellites; asteroids and comets
David Chernoff -- Concentrations: theoretical astrophysics; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: theoretical astrophysics; interstellar medium; stellar dynamics
James Cordes -- Concentrations: radiophysics; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: observational astronomy; neutron stars; SETI; instrumentation and signal processing; pulsars; exoplanets
Eanna Flanagan -- Concentrations: astrophysics; Research interests: general relativity; gravitational wave astronomy; theoretical astrophysics
Peter Gierasch -- Concentrations: planetary studies; Research interests: atmospheric dynamics and planetary meteorology
Riccardo Giovanelli -- Concentrations: radiophysics; astronomy; Research interests: observational cosmology; galactic structure
Alexander Hayes -- Concentrations: planetary studies; space sciences [general]; astronomy; Research interests:
Alexander Hayes -- Concentrations: space sciences [general]; astronomy; Research interests: planetary studies
Martha Haynes -- Concentrations: radiophysics; astrophysics; astronomy; cosmology; Research interests: internal kinematics of galaxies; star formation; thresholds; galaxy evolution
Terry Herter -- Concentrations: infrared astronomy; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: infrared astronomy; interstellar gas and dust; galaxy evolution
James Houck -- Concentrations: space sciences [general]; infrared astronomy; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: infrared astronomy; dust, brown dwarfs, and galaxies
David Hysell -- Concentrations: planetary studies; radiophysics; space sciences [general]; radio astronomy; Research interests: geophysics; ionospheric physics; remote sensing
Michael Kelley -- Concentrations: radiophysics; space sciences [general]; Research interests: electrical engineering; ionospheric physics
Dong Lai -- Concentrations: theoretical astrophysics; Research interests: theoretical astrophysics
James Lloyd -- Concentrations: infrared astronomy; Research interests: adaptive optics, astronomical instrumentation, and extrasolar planets
Richard Lovelace -- Concentrations: astrophysics; Research interests: plasma astrophysics; galactic dynamics
Jonathan Lunine -- Concentrations: planetary studies; space sciences [general]; theoretical astrophysics; astrophysics; Research interests: evolution of giant planet and brown dwarf stars; the formation of planets; atmospheric and surface processes on planets (including exo-planets) and their moons; chemistry leading to the origin of life
Philip Nicholson -- Concentrations: planetary studies; space sciences [general]; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: planetary observational astronomy; planetary rings; celestial mechanics
Michael Niemack -- Concentrations: cosmology; Research interests: cosmology; astrophysics; fundamental physics
Matthew Pritchard -- Concentrations: planetary studies; Research interests: planetary geophysics, geodesy, tectonics and volcanology; glaciology; optical and radar satellite remote sensing
Dominik Riechers -- Concentrations: radiophysics; astrophysics; astronomy; cosmology; Research interests: radiophysics; astrophysics; astronomy; cosmology
Steven Squyres -- Concentrations: planetary studies; space sciences [general]; astronomy; Research interests: surfaces and interiors of planets, satellites, and comets
Gordon Stacey -- Concentrations: infrared astronomy; Research interests: infrared astronomy; galaxies; interstellar gas and dust
Yervant Terzian -- Concentrations: radiophysics; space sciences [general]; astrophysics; astronomy; Research interests: radio astronomy; interstellar matter; radio galaxies; SETI
Saul Teukolsky -- Concentrations: theoretical astrophysics; Research interests: general relativity; relativistic astrophysics
Joseph Veverka -- Concentrations: planetary studies; astronomy; Research interests: planetary and satellite surfaces; asteroids and comets
Ira Wasserman -- Concentrations: theoretical astrophysics; astrophysics; Research interests: theoretical astrophysics

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

Paul Goldsmith -- Concentrations: astronomy; Research interests: radio astronomy and instrumentation; interstellar clouds and star formation

The first two years of your education is directed towards the goal of gaining a broad inclusive knowledge of the field of Astronomy and Space Sciences. The means to this end will include classwork, seminars, colloquia and consultation with faculty. You will gain experience communicating your ideas verbally and in written form. The background you acquire will be suitable for you to begin to conduct research in an area of interest. It will also provide the foundation of a future career whether it be in the specific field of Astronomy and Space Sciences or in some other quantitative, scientific discipline. As you move forward and specialize to begin full-fledged research you will acquire expert knowledge in several areas and learn how to grapple with problems bringing all your resources to bear to solve them.

You will hone your professional scientific skills and carry out original, publishable research.

Full learning assessment plan