Gillian Knapp

Emerita Professor of Astrophysical Sciences
Email Address: 
gk AT
Office Location: 
106 Peyton Hall

I got my BSc‭. ‬in physics from the University of Edinburgh and my Ph.D‭.‬ in astronomy from the University of Maryland in 1971‭. ‬I worked on the research staff at Caltech's Owens Valley Radio Observatory until coming to Princeton in 1980‭.  ‬I worked on radio‭, ‬millimeter wave and‭ ‬ infrared observations of the interstellar medium‭, ‬both in the Milky Way‭ ‬ and other galaxies‭, ‬in such areas as star formation‭, ‬molecular cloud structure‭, ‬the ISM in elliptical galaxies‭, ‬mass loss from evolved stars‭,‬ and galactic structure‭. ‬Since about 1990‭, ‬I worked on the construction of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey‭.  ‬SDSS science I've worked on includes the discovery and characterization of field brown dwarfs‭, ‬white dwarf stars and high-velocity stars‭.

‬My current projects include‭:‬ a study of the variability of stellar activity in dwarf main sequence stars using SDSS spectra‭; ‬characterizing star formation in the nearby low-mass-star forming Taurus Molecular Cloud based on SDSS imaging and spectroscopy and imaging in the seven bands of the Spitzer space telescope‭; ‬the luminosity/mass function of low-mass stars and brown dwarfs‭, ‬in particular identifying the division between stars and brown dwarfs‭; ‬high-velocity stars in the Galactic halo‭; ‬dwarf carbon stars‭, ‬including the search for radial velocity companions‭; ‬and an investigation into the ages of local subdwarf stars‭. ‬

I'm also involved with SEEDS‭, ‬an imaging‭ ‬ search for extrasolar planets at the Subaru 8m telescope‭. ‬I have taught introductory astronomy for science majors‭, ‬courses on the interstellar medium‭, ‬and am currently teaching AST 403‭, ‬Stars and Star Formation‭. ‬I'm a faculty fellow at‭ ‬Whitman College and advisor to some 20‭ ‬undergraduate students‭. ‬I also have a strong interest in community action‭, ‬work with the Pace Center to teach college-credit courses in the NJ prison system‭,‬ and am a faculty fellow in the Program on Law and Public Affairs‭.‬