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Adam Burgasser

Professor, Physics
Hellman Fellow

Office: SERF 340
Phone: (858) 822-6958

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Faculty profile page


A native of Buffalo, New York, Assistant Professor Adam Burgasser received his B.S. in Physics from the University of California, San Diego, in 1996, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics (with a special emphasis on Planetary Science) from the California Institute of Technology in 2001. His thesis research on the coldest known brown dwarfs (very low mass stars incapable of hydrogen fusion) led to the designation of a new stellar spectral class, the T dwarfs. He continues his observational work on low mass stars and brown dwarfs using facilities around the world, including the Magellan Telescopes operated in part by MIT. After working as a Hubble Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles, and then as a Spitzer Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Professor Burgasser joined the Physics faculty at MIT in July 2005. He also serves as graduate affiliate faculty at the Institute for Astronomy at the University of Hawaii, and resides part-time in Maui with his wife and three dogs. A national springboard diving champion in 1996, Professor Burgasser has coached at both UC San Diego and Caltech.

Research Interests

Observational astrophysics, focusing on very low-mass stars and brown dwarfs, low-temperature stellar and planetary atmospheres, and Galactic stellar populations.

Select Publications

Discovery of a Candidate for the Coolest Known Brown Dwarf 2011, ApJ Letters 730, L9
Luhman, K. L., Burgasser, A. J., & Bochanski, J. J.

Clouds in the Coldest Brown Dwarfs: Fire Spectroscopy of Ross 458C 2010, ApJ 725, 1405
Burgasser, Adam J., Simcoe, Robert A., Bochanski, John J., Saumon, Didier, Mamajek, Eric E., Cushing, Michael C., Marley, Mark S., McMurtry, Craig, Pipher, Judith L., & Forrest, William J.

The Brown Dwarf Kinematics Project (BDKP) I. Proper Motions and Tangential Velocities for a Large Sample of Late-type M, L and T Dwarfs 2009, AJ 137, 3345-3357
Faherty, JK, Burgasser, AJ, Cruz, KL, Shara, MM, Walter, FM, & Gelino, CR

The FIRE infrared spectrometer at Magellan: construction and commissioning 2010, SPIE 7735
Simcoe, Robert A., Burgasser, Adam J., Bochanski, John J., Schechter, Paul L., Bernstein, Rebecca A., Bigelow, Bruce C., Pipher, Judith L., Forrest, William, McMurtry, Craig, Smith, Matthew J., & Fishner, Jason

A Unified Near Infrared Spectral Classification Scheme for T Dwarfs 2006, ApJ 637, 1067-1093
Burgasser, AJ, Geballe, TR, Leggett, SK, Kirkpatrick, JD & Golimowski, DA

The First Substellar Subdwarf? Discovery of a Metal-poor L Dwarf with Halo Kinematics 2003, ApJ 592, 1186 Burgasser, AJ, Kirkpatrick, JD, Burrows, A, Liebert, J, Reid, IN, Gizis, JE, McGovern, MR, Prato, L, & McLean, IS