Faculty Description

Research Statement
  • My research focuses on the properties of the lowest mass stars and coldest brown dwarfs, particularly L dwarfs and T dwarfs and ultracool halo subdwarfs. I use observational techniques to infer the physical properties of cool stars, examine magnetic activity trends, search for multiples, and measure population statistics. My work incorporates many observational tools, including optical and infrared spectroscopy, high resolution imaging (including traditional and laser guide star adaptive optics), radio astronomy, space-based (HST & Spitzer) imaging, and photometric monitoring.
Awards & News
  • Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship, NASA/Spitzer Science Center, 2004-2005
  • Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellowship, NASA/Spitzer Science Center, 2004-2005 Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship, NASA/Space Telescope Science Institute, 2001-2004 NCAA Top 8 Scholar Athlete Award, 1997 John Holmes Malmberg Memorial Award for Physics, UC San Diego, 1996 NCAA Postgraduate Fellowship, UC San Diego, 1996 NACDA Pre-Games Post-Graduate Fellowship, UC San Diego, 1996 UC San Diego Research Scholar, 1995-1996 California Space Institute Fellowship, UC San Diego, 1995 Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Fellowship, UC San Diego, 1995 UC Regents Scholar, UC San Diego, 1992-1996
  • Professor Adam Burgasser and Professor Congjun Wu Promoted
  • Professor Adam Burgasser and Professor Congjun Wu have been promoted to the rank of Associate Professor with tenure in the Department of Physics. The department congratulates them on this important milestone in their careers and wish them continued success in teaching and research in the future.
  • Physics entries win first and second prize in the Faculty/Staff Category and first prize in the Student Category in the Art of Science Competition.
  • The UC San Diego Science and Engineering Library received 44 amazing images. "We were impressed by the variety, creativity and the scientific story behind each of the entries!"

    All of the images will be displayed in the S&E Library beginning Friday, May 27, and continuing through the summer. Please stop by and take a look. They will also be posted on the S&E Flickr page next week.

    And the winners are...

    Faculty/Staff Category
    1st place - Tadel Matevz, Physics
    2nd place - Adam Burgasser, Physics
    3rd place - David Rideout, Mathematics

    Student Category
    1st place - Rick Wagner, Physics
    2nd place - Christopher Doran, ECE
    3rd place - Kim Wright, MAE
    Honorable Mention - Alireza Kargar, ECE

    ChaOss Begets Order I. (1st place - Tadel Matevz, Physics)

    The image shows a Z-boson decaying into electron-positron pair inside the Compact Muon Selenoid (CMS) detector at CERN, European Organization for Nuclear Research in Geneva, Switzerland. The event was produced as a result of lead-lead ion collisions at the Large Hadron Collider and is in fact one of the first events in the world where Z-boson production was observed in heavy-ion collisions. The two opposite, dominant red towers show energy depositions of the electron and positron in the electro-magnetic calorimeter of CMS while other smaller red and blue towers represent the energy deposited by remaining low-energy particles in the electro-magnetic (red) and hadronic (blue) calorimeters of CMS.

    Stellar Orbits Dragonfly (2nd place - Adam Burgasser, Physics)

    Everything in the Universe moves. Moons, planets, stars, even whole galaxies careen through the cosmos, carrying us along. These motions tell us about the origins of celestial objects, how they have evolved, and the medium of matter, dark matter and dark energy they move through.

    In my research, I study our nearest brown dwarf neighbors - very low-mass, low-temperature stars they are a "mere" 10-50 light-years away. These stars orbit our galactic system - the Milky Way Galaxy - along many paths that reveal their diverse ages and origins. The image shows the orbital paths of 200 such brown dwarfs based on data collected from the Two Micron All Sky Survey and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, projected to show radial and vertical motions. Some of the orbits are clustered, indicating stellar groups that orbit around the Milky Way together; others are very wide, indicating old stars that are just passing through the Solar Neighborhood.

  • UCSD Physicist Adam Burgasser awarded grant to establish program to increase representation of African Americans among physics Ph.D students
  • Assoc. Prof. Adam Burgasser has been awarded a 3-year grant to establish a physics graduate bridge program with Morehouse College as part of the system-wide UC-HBCU Initiative. The goal of this program is to increase the representation of African Americans, who comprise less than 2% of US Physics PhDs each year, in UC graduate programs.

    Prof. Burgasser will be partnering with Prof. Willie Rockward, Chair of Department of Physics and Dual-Degree Engineering at Morehouse College, a historically black college based in Atlanta, GA and one of the largest producers of African-American Physics Bachelors in the US.

    In each of the next three years, 3-5 Morehouse undergraduate Physics majors will travel to UCSD for a summer research and graduate training program, co-mentored by UCSD and Morehouse faculty. In addition, support will be provided for faculty to visit each others' institutions to establish and develop research collaborations.

    Students selected for the program who subsequently apply and are admitted for graduate study at any UC will also receive graduate stipend support through the Initiative. This is the second UC-HBCU program to be awarded to UCSD; last year the "Pathways to UC San Diego" program was established to link UCSD with Howard University.

  • UCSD Physics Professor Adam Burgasser 2013 UCSD EO/AA Diversity Award recipient
  • The Chancellor of UCSD has announced that Adam Burgasser, Associate Professor of Physics and member of CASS, has been awarded the 2013 Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action and Diversity Award. This award is given to individuals, departments, and organizational units who have made outstanding efforts to further diversity, equal opportunity, and affirmative action at UCSD. We in CASS are very familiar with Adam's extensive outreach/diversity efforts and are grateful for his leadership on these issues. This award was richly deserved. Congratulations Adam.
  • Professor Adam Burgasser receives Faculty Mentor Program Outstanding Mentor Award for 2014
  • Honorees were selected based on a combination of factors, including student testimonials, innovative or unusual mentoring practices, and other considerations, such as mentees served and years of service as a mentor to undergraduates. All mentors provide excellent instruction and guidance to their respective students and receive the very great gratitude of the program staff.
Selected Publications
  • - "ULAS J141623.94+134836.3: a Blue T Dwarf Companion to a Blue L Dwarf" 2010, Astrophys. J., submitted Burgasser, AJ, Looper, DL & Rayner, JT [astro-ph].

  • - "Discoveries from a Near-infrared Proper Motion Survey using Multi-epoch 2MASS Data", 2010, Astrophys. J., submitted Kirkpatrick, JD, Looper, DL, Burgasser, AJ, Schurr, SD, Cutri, RM, Cushing, MC, Cruz, KL, Sweet, AC, Knapp, GR, Barman, TS, Bochanski, JJ, Roellig, TL, McLean, IS, McGovern, MR, & Rice, EL.

  • - "The Young, Low-Mass Enigmatic Variable TWA 30" 2010, Astrophys. J., in press Looper, DL, Mohanty, S, Bochanski, JJ, Burgasser, AJ, Mamajek, EE, Herczeg, GJ, West, AA, Faherty, JK, Rayner, J, Pitts, MA, & Kirkpatrick, JD.

  • - "SpeX Spectroscopy of Unresolved Very Low-Mass Binaries. I. Identification of Seventeen Candidate Binaries Straddling the L Dwarf/T Dwarf Transition" 2010, Astrophys. J.,710, 1142-1169 Burgasser, AJ, Cruz, KL, Cushing, MC, Gelino, CR, Looper, DL, Faherty, JK, Kirkpatrick, JD & Reid, IN [ADS].

  • - "Discovery of An Unusually Blue L Dwarf Within 10 pc of the Sun" 2010, Astron. J., 139, 1045-1050 Schmidt, SJ, West, AA, Burgasser, AJ, Bochanski, JJ, & Hawley, SH [ADS].

  • - "The Brown Dwarf Kinematics Project (BDKP). II. Identification of Nine Wide Common Proper Motion Very low-mass Companions to Nearby Stars" 2010, Astron. J., 139, 176-194 Faherty, JK, Burgasser, AJ, West, AA, Bochanski, JJ, Cruz, KL, Shara, MM, & Walter, FM [ADS}.

  • - "MASE: A New Data-Reduction Pipeline for the Magellan Echellette Spectrograph" 2009, PASP, 121, 1409 Bochanski, JJ, Hennawi, JF, Simcoe, RA, Prochaska, JX, West, AA, Burgasser, AJ, Burles, S, Bernstein, RA, Williams, CL, & Murphy, MT [ADS].

  • - "Resolved Spectroscopy of M Dwarf/L Dwarf Binaries. III. The "Wide" L3.5/L4 Dwarf Binary 2MASS J15500845+1455180AB" 2009, Astron. J., 138, 1563-1569 Burgasser, AJ, Dhital, S, & West, A [ADS].

  • - "An Age Constraint for the Very Low-Mass Stellar/Brown Dwarf Binary 2MASS J03202839-0446358AB" 2009, Astron. J., 137, 4621-4626 Burgasser, AJ, & Blake, CH [ADS].

  • - "Optical and Near-Infrared Spectroscopy of the L Subdwarf SDSS J125637.13-022452.4" 2009 Astrophys. J., 697, 148-159 Burgasser, AJ, Witte, S, Helling, Ch, & Hauschildt, PH [ADS]