Karen L. Masters

Haverford College

Chair and Professor of Physics and Astronomy

I am an astronomer interested in galaxy evolution probed through surveys. I am particularly interested in galaxies where you can see structure and/or probing the kinematics of galaxies or using them to test cosmological models in various ways. I have worked with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (as the Spokesperson of SDSS-IV), so I am used to working in very large collaborations. I have also worked in much smaller collaborations – for example, I am the current PI of Galaxy Zoo, which as a citizen science project, has a large number of contributors, but the science team is relatively modest. I also do my own HI single-dish observations quite often, using telescopes like the Green Bank Telescope. 

I work at a small liberal arts college (SLAC) and a primarily undergraduate institution (PUI) and can give perspective on faculty jobs at such locations, which are actually a large fraction of all faculty jobs available in the USA. The Department of Astronomy and Physics at Haverford College is a small but active research department in a liberal arts college located on the outskirts of Philadelphia (within easy reach of research seminars at UPenn, Drexel, Swarthmore, and Bryn Mawr Colleges). Haverford College has a history of acting for social justice, and a large fraction of students who have significant scholarships are FGLI and/or BIPOC. We do not have graduate students. Undergraduates at Haverford are expected to be engaged in research, and all do a senior thesis; a high fraction go on to further study in astronomy or related fields. As part of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium, we are also connected with faculty who do astronomy research in SLACs across the Northeast and are engaged in an active REU program. We have around 20 Physics majors (6ish Astro) each year and a small observatory which we use for teaching/public observing.

Contact Karen L. Masters