College of Science

Personal Overview

popularizing science via public lectures and articles
loud and eclectic music
jogging, weight-lifting and biking
antique and sports cars

Educational Background

Ph.D., Astronomy Ohio State University 1981
B.A., Astronomy Indiana University 1974

Professional Experience

Dr. Oswalt has been a member of the Florida Tech faculty since 1982 and was the first professional astronomer in the Department of Physics and Space Sciences. He serves on a number of professional society and funding agency committees each year. From 1998 to 2000, Dr. Oswalt served as Program Director for Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics at the National Science Foundation. After returning to Florida Tech in 2000, he served as Associate Dean for Research for the College of Science (2000-5) and Interim Vice Provost for Research (2005-6). He is now Head of the Department of Physics & Space Sciences and Associate Provost for Research. Dr. Oswalt has written over 130 scientific articles and has edited three astronomy books. He is currently editing a six-volume series of astronomy reference books.

Dr. Oswalt is the founding chairman of the Southeast Association for Research in Astronomy (SARA), a consortium of ten southeastern universities that operates an automated 0.9-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory, near Tucson, Arizona and a similar 0.6-meter telescope at Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory in Chile (see the website www.saraobservatory.org for details). These facilities, which are remotely accessible on the Internet, are used for a variety of research projects by faculty and students. They also are used by the SARA Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, which brings students from all over the U.S. each summer to participate one-on-one with SARA faculty mentors in astronomical research projects. In addition, Dr. Oswalt secured the funding for the new 0.8-meter Ortega telescope, which was dedicated atop the Olin Physical Sciences Building here on the Florida Tech campus in April 2008. It is the largest research telescope in the State of Florida.

Current Research

Dr. OswaltÂ’s current research focuses on a spectroscopic and photometric investigation of very wide binaries that contain known or suspected white dwarf stars. These pairs of stars, whose separations are so large that orbital motion is undetectable, provide a unique opportunity to explore the low luminosity ends of both the white dwarf cooling track and the main sequence; competing models of white dwarf spectral evolution; the space motions, masses and luminosities for the largest single sample of white dwarfs known; and to set a lower limit to the age and dark matter content of the Galactic disk.

Selected Publications

Garca-Berro, E., Oswalt, T. 2009, The White Dwarf Luminosity Function, review article in White Dwarfs, ed. R. Napiwotski (Springer-Dordrecht), in press.

Holberg, J.B., Sion, E.M., Oswalt, T., McCook, G.P., Foran, S., Subasavage, J.P. 2008, A New Look at the Local White Dwarf Population, AJ 135, 1225

R. Silvotti et al. (incl. T. Oswalt) 2007, A Giant Planet Orbiting the Extreme Horizontal Branch Star V391 Pegasi, Nature 449, 180

A. Kawka, S. Vennes, T. Oswalt, A. Smith, N. Silvestri 2006, LP 400-22, a Very Low Mass and High-Velocity White Dwarf, ApJL 643, 123

N. Silvestri, S. Hawley, T. Oswalt 2005, The Chromospheric Activity and Ages of M Dwarf Stars in Wide Binary Systems, Astron. J. 129, 2428

D. Sing et al. (incl. T. Oswalt) 2004, Spectroscopic and Photometric Analysis of HS1136+6646: A Hot Young DAO+K7V Post-Common Envelope, Pre-Cataclysmic Variable Binary, Astron. J. 127, 2936

Oswalt, T.D. 2003, The Future of Small Telescopes in the New Millennium, T. Oswalt ed., Klumer: Dordrecht. (3 volumes)

Silvestri, N.M., T.D. Oswalt & S.L. Hawley 2002, Wide Binary Systems and the Nature of High-Velocity White Dwarfs, Astron. J. 124, 1118

Prior Publications of Note:

T. Oswalt, J. Smith, M. Wood, P. Hintzen 1996, "New Limits to the Galactic Disk Age from the Luminosity Function of White Dwarfs in Wide Binaries", Nature 382, 692.

R. Millis et al. (incl. T. Oswalt) 1987, "The Size, Shape, Density, and Albedo of Ceres from Its Occultation of BD+8471", Icarus 72, 507.

For a list of all of Oswalts publications see the ADS website