Chair's Welcome

On behalf of the Princeton Department of Astrophysical Sciences, I am happy to welcome you to our webpages, where you can learn about our department's history and our research, education, and outreach activities.

Astronomy in Princeton has a long and distinguished history, with an observatory on campus dating back to the mid-1800's.  Over 100 years ago, Professor Henry Norris Russell recognized the importance of integrating physics into astronomy in order to interpret stellar spectra, as part of the then-new discipline of astrophysics.  Under the leadership of Lyman Spitzer, the department grew into its modern form, with unique strengths in theoretical and computational astrophysics, plasma physics, major astronomical surveys such as SDSSWMAP and Rubin Observatory/LSST, and a forefront educational program.  Our astrophysical interests are extremely broad, from the study of magnetic fields in the Sun, to the formation and evolution of planets, stars and galaxies, to the structure and composition of the universe overall.  Please check out our Departmental History page and Research pages to learn more.

We're a diverse and dynamic department of about 150 facultyresearch scholarsstudents and staff.  We continue our tradition of leadership in theoretical and computational astrophysics, in survey astronomy, and in instrumentation (both hardware and software).  Our department has close ties to the Gravity and Cosmology group in the Department of Physics, the Astrophysics group at the Institute for Advanced Study, campus institutes and programs including Princeton Institute for Computational Science and Engineering (PICSciE), the Program in Applied and Computational Mathematics (PACM), Princeton Center for Theoretical Science (PCTS) and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML), instrumentation laboratories in Physics and the Engineering School, and the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (the largest center for magnetic fusion and space science studies in the country).  Opportunities to learn and collaborate across disciplines are everywhere!

If you're a student or prospective student, I encourage you to explore the information on these pages about our exceptional undergraduate and graduate programs, including opportunities for summer research.  If you're a colleague, we hope you'll learn more about the people and research in our department, including opportunities for doing postdoctoral research here.  And if you're a member of the public, you'll find information about our monthly public observing and outreach programs.

If you have any concerns or suggestions for the department, you may share them anonymously via a google form to the Chair of the Climate Committee or to me as Department Chair.  

Welcome to our department!

Michael Strauss

Michael Strauss
Professor of Astrophysical Sciences
Chair, Department of Astrophysical Sciences