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Vassilis Charmandaris

Vassilis Charmandaris

Vassilis Charmandaris

Dr. Vassilis Charmandaris is currently a staff astronomer at the Astronomy Department of Cornell University.

Vassilis grew up in Greece and came to the United States in 1989, after obtaining a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Thessaloniki. In graduate school he focussed on the star formation properties and kinematics of collisional ring galaxies and received his Ph.D. in astrophysics from Iowa State Univerity in 1995. Realizing that the perception that ``the Iowa winters are not as cold at they used to be'' was simply a result of his long stay in the midwest, he decided to reward himself and slightly change environment by returning to Europe to get a postdoct position in Paris, France. He worked for a year at the Service d'Astrophysique at CEA Saclay and he was then awarded a Marie Curie Fellowship and moved for another two years to the millimeter astronomy department (DEMIRM) of the Observatoire de Paris.

During his stay in France, his research interests evolved around questions related to how the properties of dust and molecular gas in interacting galaxies affect the formation of massive stars in them. He has been addressing those questions using mainly data obtained by telescopes in space, such as the Hubble and the Infrared Space Observatory. However, he also tries to seize the opportunity to use millimeter and radio telescopes in the mountains of Chile, Spain, and Hawaii to make more observations which are often essential in order to get a complete picture of what really happens in those galaxies.

Vassilis moved back to the western side of the Atlantic at Cornell University in August of 1999, but he often finds professional reasons to spend some time with his old collaborators in Paris. He is a member of the group which has built IRS, the mid-infrared spectrograph of the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF). SIRTF is the fourth and final element in NASA's family of "Great Observatories," expected to be launched into space within the next two years.