Andrew Burkhardt

Andrew Burkhardt
ab118@wellesley.edu
Physics
B.S. University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) ; M.S., University of Virginia; Ph.D., University of Virginia

Andrew Burkhardt

Visiting Lecturer in Physics

Observational and Theoretical Astrochemistry, Radio Astronomy


My research focuses on the synthesis of observational and theoretical astrochemistry, where I've study the formation of the most complex molecules known to exist in the interstellar medium, many of which have eluded detailed direct study for decades. Specifically, I combine radio/infrared observations and gas-grain chemical models to develop alternative methods to investigate the physico-chemical origins for two of the most unconstrained regimes of astrochemistry: 1) Revealing the formation of aromatic molecules through high-sensitivity observational surveys and unprecedented expansion of chemical models for both carbon chains and multi-ring species and 2) Probing frozen complex organic molecule reservoirs on dust with shocks through observations of chemically-active protostellar outflows and shock-chemistry models. Since astrochemistry covers a wide range of fields, I am also very interested in interdisciplinary work to find innovative ways to approach problems.

My teaching philosophy focuses on fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive learning environment, incorporating interactivity through projects, exercises, and feedback and developing skills in real-life applications of course material.

One of my favorite parts of my job is sharing knowledge with others. A crucial component of professional science is to make your discoveries easily accessible to both the public and other future scientists. As such, I am a strong proponent of undergraduate research as early as possible. Similarly, I enjoy doing public outreach at a variety of ages, with an emphasis on targeting underrepresented populations. I also have helped organize a variety of conferences and workshops, most of which tie back to training the next generation of scientists.

In my free time, I enjoy tabletop games and always carry at least one with me when traveling for work or vacation. I am also a fan of theatre and cinema, especially the more technical aspects. I have a cat named Saturn who is a very helpful assistant during late-night telescope observations.