December 1, 2019
#012 The Impact of Astronomy Research at SDSU
San Diego State University has the only standalone Astronomy department in the California State University system. We also operate a research observatory on Mount Laguna, which is a short drive east of San Diego. And we are the only campus to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in astronomy under the guidance of renowned researchers.
In this episode, you will hear from two of our own world-renowned Astronomy researchers: Dr. Jerome Orosz and Dr. William Welsh, who have recently made international news in the world of Astronomy.
They will talk about their amazing discovery, but also why these space discoveries should matter to the rest of us, their collaboration with NASA, and how our Astronomy programs are impacting students and their future as scientists.
“San Diego State University has the only standalone Astronomy department in the California State University system. We also operate a research observatory on Mount Laguna, which is a short drive east of San Diego. And we are the only campus to offer bachelor's and master's degrees in astronomy under the guidance of renowned researchers” -De la Torre.
“Our specialty here at San Diego State has been binary star systems” -Orosz
“An SDSU alumnus from the 1970s had originally started working on this project and had been doing so since the mid-1990s. And he was part of the Kepler mission...we have an SDSU connection going all the way back to the very beginnings into the 1970s and he's been a world leader in this field” -Welsh.
“And people are just naturally curious about, I think, nature and science. And so we study Astronomy because we just want to know” -Orosz.
“You know, you look up in the sky and you see all these thousands of stars and just to think that each of these stars probably has one or more planets, and you start to wonder…” -Orosz.
“The most exciting part [of the Mount Laguna Observatory] is the ability to train our students with a hands-on observatory, where they actually get to go up there and learn and collect data and make mistakes, and really get a good experience out of this” -Welsh.
“It's sort of the Golden Age of Astronomy. We're still a science that's led by data and discovery. So we're still pointing telescopes towards the sky and making amazing discoveries and trying to figure out what it means. And that, to me, is the most fun part of it” -Welsh
About Dr. Adela de la Torre
Dr. Adela de la Torre joined San Diego State University in June 2018, as the first woman and Latina president. She brings 30 years of service and leadership roles within institutions of higher education and shares these experiences with open arms. She has two daughters who are both married, a grandson, a husband, and three dogs! Adela discusses the challenges she faced in college, her mentors, her heart-led leadership style, and her vision to help all types of students at SDSU feel confident in their goals.
About Dr. Jerome Orosz
Dr. Jerome Orosz’s interest in Astronomy began at a young age, and having completed his Ph.D. in Astronomy he now serves as a professor and undergraduate/graduate advisor for SDSU’s Astronomy Department. His research interests include binary stars, stellar mass black holes, and transiting exoplanets.
About Dr. William F. Welsh
Although not initially drawn to teaching, SDSU is lucky to have Dr. William Welsh as a professor and lab coordinator for our Astronomy department. His research interests include interacting binary stars, extrasolar planets, time series analysis, transiting exoplanets, accretion-powered systems: AGN, CVs and X-ray binaries.