I am an associate professor of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University.  I have taught a number of Astronomy courses for the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Ball State University.  Courses that I have taught include but are not limited to
  1. A100–Introduction to Astronomy,
  2. A120–The Sun, and Stars,
  3. A122–Galaxies and Cosmology,
  4. A124–The Solar System,
  5. A126–Dark Matter, Black Holes, and Cosmology,
  6. A330/332–Introduction to Astrophysics (undergraduate level),
  7. A380–Topics in Modern Astronomy (undergraduate level),
  8. A530/532–Introduction to Astrophysics (graduate level), and
  9. A580–Topics in Modern Astronomy (graduate level).
Ball State University now has an Astronomy Major.  If you would like to inquire about the Astronomy Major or our undergraduate or graduate physics programs, please feel free to contact me.

Research Interests

I am blessed to be given the opportunity to work with several talented students at Ball State University.  I am involved with an active research group that investigates short-period variable stars.  Most of the research activities of this group involve photometric investigations of eclipsing variable stars but also include pulsating stars as well.  If you would like to find out more about the research activities of the Short-Period Variable Star Group at Ball State University, please feel free to contact me or visit their research page.
I also have strong interests in the structure and evolution of early-type galaxies and their environments over the age of the Universe. I use the rich cluster environment to investigate the structural evolution of elliptical galaxies in these environments through the fundamental plane. This discipline not only requires that you perform extensive optical and spectroscopic observations of galaxies in the cluster environment, but also are well versed in computational astrophysics.

Personal Activities

On a personal note, I have many varied interests that range from art and music to the great outdoors. I can often be seen at local art events and galleries, but also disappearing into the backwoods of Wyoming and other desolate places to enjoy numerous natural wonders. Following, I will describe some of my main exploits.

Outdoor Activities

I have a keen interest in photography. Most of my work is in Black & White film with both 35mm roll film and 4″x5″ large-format film formats. Large format cameras that I have used include an old, turn-of-the-20th-century Gundlach Korona II 4″x5″ box camera, a Calumet/Cambo 4″x5″ monorail studio view camera, and a Tachihara 4″x5″ field camera. Lenses include a Caltar II-E 210mm, and a Schneider APO Symmar 150mm. Most of my subjects are landscape scenes, but I also explore portraiture and still-life subjects.
As an avid outdoors person, I enjoy hiking, backpacking, and canoeing.  I try to make at least one trip a year.  Usually, these are to places that I have not been. Some of these (recent) trips include, but are not limited to the following:
  1. The Adirondack Mountains in New York,
  2. Algonquin Provincial Park northward of Toronto, Canada,
  3. Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park near Canmore, Canada,
  4. The Grand Canyon in Arizona (South Rim<->Phantom Ranch<->North Rim),
  5. Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia,
  6. Pacific Coastline (Olympic National Park),
  7. Rio Grande downriver from Big Bend National Park (La Linda to Dryden Crossing),
  8. The Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Mountain Range in Wyoming,
  9. High Sierra Camp loop in Yosemite National Park, and
  10. Zion National Park.

Winter Sports

I am also an avid fan of winter-time sports.  In particular, I enjoy both Nordic and alpine skiing, as well as telemarking.  I have skied a number of resorts across the United States, but feel most at home at the resorts just westward of Denver, Colorado (Summit County).  Some of the places that I have visited include:
  1. Alta
  2. Assiniboine Lodge
  3. Breckenridge
  4. Copper Mountain
  5. Eldora
  6. Jay Peak
  7. Keystone
  8. Mt. Bachelor
  9. Mt. Baker
  10. Snowbird
  11. Steamboat Strings
  12. Telluride
  13. Vail
  14. Whistler–Blackcomb
  15. Winter Park
  16. Wolf Creek

Summer Sports

I also love to play soccer at one of the many pick-up games you can find throughout Muncie.
In order to permit me to continue my various activities, I need to stay in shape, and can often be found running the streets of Muncie, IN and the Ball State University Campus, or frequenting one of Ball State’s gymnasiums.
For many years I participated in the racing of canoes (tandem cruiser).  The boats that we used are highly specialized canoes that are optimized for efficient travel.  This means they are exceptionally light, narrow with round floors for their given length (means they are very unstable when stationary), very rigid to maintain their shape and prevent warping of the hull for straight tracking, and shallow walls with no rocker to prevent wind effects.  The boats we used were the flat-water marathon cruisers (Jensen V1-A Mixer) made by Wenonah in Winona, Minnesota.  These boats are typically 18’6″ in length with a minimum width of 33″ within 2 feet of the center at the 4″ water line and conform to the USCA specifications for cruiser class.  The boat is made either of Kevlar (the material bullet proof vests are commonly made of) or graphite and weighs typically 29 lbs.  These boats are light enough to be curled with one arm.
Paddles are bent-shaft paddles made of similar material (typically graphite or Kevlar).  The “bent-shaft” means the paddle blade is offset (tilted) to the shaft (handle) of the paddle by a small angle.  Our paddles are bent by an angle of 14°.  Modern paddles have typical offset angles that span the range 5-15º.  Paddle weights are typically less than or on the order of 1 lb in weight.
For many years I participated in the Boy Scout White River Canoe race held in northern Arkansas.  The race starts just below the dam of Bull Shoals lake, and concludes in Batesville, AR.  The race lasts for 3 days, and is a series of legs (3 each day) covered by a team of two racers.  The entire team consisted of about six members with each pair taking a leg of the race.  Each leg is typically 15-20 miles in length and a few hours in duration.  Total distance traveled is 120 miles.  The first day saw its conclusion 43.6 miles downriver at the confluence of the Norfork Tailwater (segment of the North Folk River from Norfork Lake) and White River at Norfork, AR,  the second day finished 35 miles downriver in Allison, AR for a total of 78.6 miles.  The third and final day marking the finish of the race in Batesville, AR for the longest day of 41.4 miles making a total of 120 miles for the entire race.