Astrophysics Research

jay I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Michigan State. I welcome questions from current or prospective students about possible research projects; send me an email at the address listed below.

From 2007-2012 I was a Hubble Fellow and Menzel Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. I got my PhD in astronomy at UC-Santa Cruz/Lick Observatory. Recently my work has focused on studying compact objects, especially on searches for black holes in globular clusters and Galactic binaries among Fermi gamma-ray sources. This work is supported by a Packard Fellowship and grants from NSF and NASA.

I am also a proud member of the SAGES group, which studies extragalactic globular cluster systems as a means to understand galaxy formation. Our current focus is the SLUGGS survey. I have broad interests in old stellar populations, including star clusters in the local universe, dwarf galaxies, and mass loss in red giants.

I'm a member of Stars, Milky Way, and Local Volume science collaboration for LSST. Kevin Covey and I chair the sub-group on Star Clusters. I also contributed to the LSST science book, which is here, and the LSST cadence science book.

My research group at MSU includes postdocs Ryan Urquhart and Kirill Sokolovsky, graduate students Laura Shishkovsky, Samuel Swihart, and Teresa Panurach, and several undergraduates. Some students are co-advised with Laura Chomiuk.

Do an astro-ph or ADS search on me.

The Brodie & Strader (2006) review of extragalactic globular clusters.

My CV.

I can be reached at:

I have two goats, one of whom (Magellan) is pictured to the right.

New: We have identified two likely gamma-ray pulsar binaries through SOAR followup of unidentified Fermi-LAT sources. The first, 1FGL J0523.5-2529, is a redback with perhaps an unusually massive secondary; the second, 1FGL J1417.7-4407, is a neutron star with a red giant companion. J1417 may be a "transitional" millisecond pulsar that switches between accretion-powered and rotational-powered states.
We found the first "hypervelocity" globular cluster around M87. slashdot noticed.
Check out our discovery of black holes in the Milky Way globular cluster M22 (Nature; arXiv; Nature News & Views). Selected media coverage: Science,, Science News, and Scientific American. And now candidates in M62 and 47 Tuc!
You can find the catalog of M31 globular cluster velocity dispersions, masses, mass-to-light ratios, and radii here. See Strader et al. (2011, AJ, 142, 8) or send me an email if you have questions.