Undergraduate Research in Astronomy

The University of Alabama Department of Physics and Astronomy offers many great opportunities for undergraduates to complete research projects alongside faculty and grad students. Research significantly enhances a student’s understanding of the scientific process and the field of physics and astronomy, and is a critical component of a student’s qualifications for graduate programs.

We provide many opportunities for juniors and seniors majoring in physics, or related fields, to be involved in active research on cutting edge scientific topics. 

The following astronomy faculty members are currently accepting undergraduate students for research projects: Jeremy Bailin, Bill Keel, Preethi Nair, Dean Townsley, Dawn Williams.

If you are a student looking to get into research and something sounds interesting to you, please email the faculty member and make an appointment to discuss research with them.

Current & Recent Projects

  • Quantifying spiral arm structures in nearby galaxies.
    • Ben Runge, Carlisle Wishard / Dr. Nair
  • Structural decomposition of barred galaxies in the HST COSMOS field.
  • Applying pattern recognition techniques to galaxies from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Illustris simulation.
  • Photometry of Galaxy Zoo collisional ring galaxies.
  • Studying the Outskirts of Non-Cool Core Galaxy Clusters With Suzaku
  • How quickly do the properties of dark matter halos change?
  • The formation of warps in galaxy formation simulations
  • Synthetic images of simulated galaxies
  • Verifying Shock-capturing Methods for Hydrodynamic Simulations in Degenerate Matter
  • Census of star formation in the galaxy cluster Abell 851, from Kitt Peak imagery and correlated with galaxy structures from Hubble data
  • Surface photometry of Seyfert galaxies from Hubble archival data, part of a wider project on the history of supermassive black holes
  • Connections between dust structures in galaxy nuclei, from Hubble data, and structures in the outer regions of the galaxies as seen in ground-based images

Additional Resources