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.