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Kowalski, Adam F

Associate Professor


Research Areas research areas


research overview

  • Dr. Adam F. Kowalski joined the National Solar Observatory and the Department of Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences as Assistant Professor. His research interests are solar and stellar astrophysics with a specialization in spectroscopy of optical and ultraviolet emission in stellar flares. Adam uses state-of-the-art modeling codes and techniques combined with analysis of data from ground and space-based observatories to understand how the lower, dense stellar atmosphere is heated in response to the sudden release of magnetic energy during flares. Recently, he has been working on connecting the physical processes in solar flares to much (up to 1000 times!) more energetic flares on red dwarf stars using data from NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope. He will be actively participating in the science plan for studying flares with future data from the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope.


  • stellar astrophysics, solar physics, flares, radiative processes in stellar atmospheres, radiative hydrodynamic modeling, optical and ultraviolet spectroscopy, interpretation of spectral phenomena, observing


selected publications


courses taught

  • ASTR 3520 - Observations and Instrumentation 2
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2019 / Spring 2020
    Lab course in observation and instrumentation. Hands-on exercises include obtaining and analyzing multi-wavelength data, optical design and instrumentation, and statistical analysis, with emphasis on spectroscopy. A significant number of night time observation sessions are required. Elective for APS majors. Elective for APS minors on space available basis.
  • ASTR 3760 - Solar and Space Physics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2024
    Explores the physical processes linking the Sun and planets, emphasizing solar radiative and particulate variability and the response of planetary atmospheres and magnetospheres. Topics include the solar dynamo, solar wind, coronal mass ejections, cosmic ray modulation, magnetospheres, aurora, the space environment, and climate variability. Recommended prerequisite: PHYS 3310. Elective for APS major and minor.
  • ASTR 5550 - Observations, Data Analysis and Statistics
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2021 / Spring 2022 / Spring 2023
    Introduces multi-wavelength observational techniques,their limitations and effects of various noise sources. Describes basic data handling, error analysis, and statistical tests relevant to modeling. Topics include probability distributions, model-fitting algorithms, confidence intervals, correlations, sampling and convolution. Students derive physical measurements and uncertainties with hands-on analysis of real datasets. Department enforced prerequisite: senior level undergraduate physics or instructor consent will be required.
  • ASTR 6000 - Seminar in Astrophysics
    Primary Instructor - Fall 2018
    Studies current research and research literature on an astrophysical topic. Students and faculty give presentations. Subjects vary each semester. May be repeated for a total of 4 credit hours to meet candidacy requirements.
  • ASTR 7500 - Special Topics in Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences
    Primary Instructor - Spring 2024
    Acquaints students with current research in astrophysical and planetary sciences. Topics vary each semester. May be repeated up to 9 total credit hours.


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