Mark Avara

Astrophysics Graduate Student
Department of Astronomy, Room CSS 0228
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20740

mavara <<\at>> astro.umd.edu

Here you can read about my research interests, outside interests, access my teaching resources, or follow me to my frequented links.


Research Interests:

Plasma and accretion physics, specifically theoretical and numerical studies of black hole accreiton disks and jets, and instabilities that arrise in weakly collisional plasma found in clusters of galaxies. I am currently working with Professors Jonathan McKinney and Chris Reynolds of the University of Maryland - College Park. I also worked with Prof. Tamara Bogdanovic (Georgia Tech) when I was focused on conduction and turbulent properties of the intra-cluster medium.

Gravitational radiation as a probe of fundamental physics. I have worked with Prof. Peter Shawhan in the physics department investigating the use of networks of gravitational wave interferometers to search for scalar mode gravitational waves which are allowed in many alternative theories of gravity.

High energy processes in astrophysics, primarily the dynamics and environment of AGN (unification models) and compact objects such as neutron stars and black holes, including the role that gravity plays. With Prof. Jonathan McKinney I am studying the physics of thin black hole accretion disks using the grmhd code HARM.


Personal Interests:

I enjoy hiking and going to the mountains in NH, ME, MA, or MD any chance I get. I'm an avid small boat sailor/racer, having spent a lot of time tacking on the Charles as an undergrad at MIT, and especially love sailing multihulls, .

I play the violin and piano. I play mostly classical now, which is likely the only sort of music you'd see me play at a concert, but there are a few spots in north central Texas that I get to from time to time where I play the music I was raised on, traditional folk music, bluegrass, and ol' time Texas fiddling.

I am a naturalist at heart and am always excited to discuss earth-friendly energy sources and small-footprint living.

My most recent obsessions are chess, and especially elusive yet fundamental problems in classical mechanics.


Teaching:

ASTR 121 LABS

Introduction to Astrophysics II

Theoretical Astrophysics


Distractions and dependencies:

American Astronomical Society Home Page
Los Alamos Archive of Physics e-prints
The Goddard HEASARC W3Browse facility
The NASA Astrophysics Data System Home Page
NASA Extragalactic Database