David Alexander

Research Interests

My research was focused in two broad, interconnected projects. In the first project I computed the atmospheric structure of cool, red giant stars. The result of this computation is a knowledge of the thermal structure of the outer layers of the star and the emergent spectrum of light emitted by the star. This latter information can be directly compared to observations of stars. Such comparisons can suggest further refinements in the models or can be used to determine the chemical composition and effective temperature of the star.

The second project involved the computation of the opacity of material to radiation at astrophysically low temperatures (below about 10,000 K). The results are usually presented as frequency-averaged opacities in a grid of temperatures and densities. These opacity tables are essential input quantities for other investigators working on such problems as stellar structure and evolution, star and planet formation, and stellar pulsation.

Jason Ferguson continues the research projects in low temperature opacities and stellar atmospheres on which we had collaborated in the past.  While we regularly discuss his current efforts, I am no longer actively involved in this work. The science education activities described below will continue, although I will have no active involvement in them.

Further information about this work and tables of low temperature opacity can be found at http://webs.wichita.edu/physics/opacity/.  This work has been done in collaboration with:

Jason Ferguson (WSU)
Travis Barman (UCLA)
Peter Hauschildt (Hamburger Sternwarte)
France Allard (ENS-Lyon)

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