Andrew Harris is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and an Affiliate Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Maryland.  His main research interests center around understanding the dense molecular and atomic gas in the molecular clouds that provide the material for new stars within the nuclei and disks of of galaxies.  Observations of this material traces the history of star formation over the history of the Universe, from the first massive galaxies to form, some 11 billion years ago, to the stars now being born in our own Galaxy.

A powerful tool for the study of molecular clouds is spectroscopy of spectral lines from simple molecules and atoms.   These species emit radiation at millimeter and submillimeter wavelengths, corresponding to frequencies of a few tens of gigahertz to a few terahertz.  For many radio astronomical observations at these high frequencies, sensitive instruments with the necessary tuning range and bandwidth must be constructed for specific experiments.  Prof. Harris has built radio astronomical spectrometer systems and installed them on radio telescopes around the world.  His current instrumentation projects include the Zpectrometer, a wideband spectrometer to search for spectral lines from galaxies at high redshift at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory's 100 meter diameter Green Bank Telescope; collaboration with Prof. Shuvra Bhattacharyya's DSPCAD group in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, including spectrometer systems for pulsar observations; wideband correlators for imaging the Cosmic Microwave Background; and microwave signal transport interconnect systems for millimeter-wave focal plane arrays.  His laboratory in the Department of Astronomy supports these efforts.

In addition to using instruments developed in his laboratory, often in collaboration with other groups, Prof. Harris observes with the CARMA millimeter-wave array in the high desert of California's Inyo mountains, an aperture synthesis millimeter wave array operated by a consortium of universities including the University of Maryland.  Signals from CARMA's 23 antennas are combined to synthesize an equivalent telescope with size up to a few kilometers, allowing a view of the millimeter wave sky with unprecedented detail.  Prof. Harris is also a member of the scientific team working with the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency submillimeter observatory with major NASA participation.

Prof. Harris received a BSEE from the University of California, Davis, and a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1986.  After a brief postdoctoral position in Berkeley he moved to the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics near Munich, Germany, eventually becoming a member of the permanent staff.  He received an appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1994, then moved to the University of Maryland in 1997.

Questions or comments?  Please contact Andrew Harris.