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Michele Kaufman

Dr. Michele Kaufman's main research interests are spiral structure, the nature of interstellar gas, the factors governing star formation on a galactic scale, and the effects of tidal forces during close encounters between galaxies. To trace what the stars and the various components of the interstellar gas are doing, she analyzes digitized images of nearby spiral galaxies taken in the radio continuum and in the 21-cm line of atomic hydrogen with the Very Large Array, in broad-band optical and near-infrared emission, in optical emission lines, and in CO emission from molecular gas. By comparing the relative locations of various spiral tracers, she has shown that there are at least two types of spiral-arm morphologies in grand-design spiral galaxies, and that most of the difference arises from a difference in the surface density of interstellar gas.

Dr. Kaufman received her Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University under the guidance of David Layzer, and did her undergraduate work at Radcliffe College. Presently she supervises and teaches introductory physics courses at Ohio State University. She previously taught physics at Brown University, Notre Dame, SUNY at Stony Brook, and Swarthmore College, and did research at NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. She grew up in Tiverton, RI, a suburb of Fall River, MA (famous for the Lizzie Borden murder case).