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Philip Choi

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy
  • Expertise

    Expertise

    Philip Choi's research spans a range of astrophysical topics, including the study of star formation in young stellar clusters, the modeling and investigation of galaxy interactions in the nearby universe, the star formation and AGN activity of distant galaxies in the early universe and the development of astronomical adaptive optics instrumentation that enables ultra-high-resolution ground-based imaging.

    For the investigation of distant galaxies, he has combined deep, infrared Spitzer Space Telescope observations with Keck ground-based spectroscopy to study the evolution of infrared luminous galaxies in the early universe. In particular he is interested in tracking active galactic nucleus activity, star formation, and the galaxy interaction history of this population over cosmic timescales.

    While at Pomona, he has led a team of undergraduate student researchers in an intensive effort to develop and deploy a low-cost, remote-access, natural guide-star adaptive optics system for the one-meter telescope at the Pomona College Table Mountain Observatory. The system offers simultaneous dual-band, diffraction-limited imaging at visible and near-infrared wavelengths and delivers an order of magnitude improvement in point source sensitivity and angular resolution relative to the current seeing limit.

    Research Interests

    Choi's primary interests are observational studies of galaxy evolution. His current research includes both detailed studies of nearby galaxies as well as large infrared and optical surveys of distant galaxy samples. He is utilizing a suite of optical/NIR imaging and spectroscopic observations along with N-body simulations to constrain the interaction and star formation history of nearby galaxies. For the investigation of distant galaxies, he has combined deep, infrared Spitzer Space Telescope observations with Keck ground-based spectroscopy to study the evolution of infrared luminous galaxies in the early universe. In particular he is interested in tracking AGN activity, star formation, and the galaxy interaction history of this population over cosmic timescales.

    Areas of Expertise

    ASTRONOMY

    • Galaxy Evolution
    • Galaxy Interactions
    • Active Galactic Nucleus (AGN) and Star Formation (SF) Diagnostics
    • Optical & Infrared Imaging and Spectroscopy
  • Work

    Work

    With G. Karaali, S.O. Sood, and E. Grosfils; "Envisioning a Quantitative Studies Center: A Liberal Arts Perspective," Numeracy, 3, 1, 2010

    With Others, “Star Formation Rates and Extinction Properties of IR-Luminous Galaxies in the Spitzer First Look Survey,” Astrophysical Journal, 637, 227, 2006

    With L. Yan, R. Chary, L. Armus, H. Teplitz, G. Helou, D. Frayer, D. Fadda, and J. Surace, “Spitzer Detection of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon and Silicate Dust Features in the Mid-Infrared Spectra of z ~ 2 Ultraluminous Infrared Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal, 628, 604, 2005

    With M. Lacy, et al., “Obscured and Unobscured Active Galactic Nuclei in the Spitzer Space Telescope First Look Survey,” Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 154, 166, 2004

    With L. Yan, et al., “Spitzer 24 Micron Observations of Optical/Near-Infrared-Selected Extremely Red Galaxies: Evidence for Assembly of Massive Galaxies at z~1-2?” Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 154, 75, 2004

    P. Guhathakurta and K.V. Johnston, “Tidal Interaction of M32 and NGC 205 with M31: Surface Photometry and Numerical Simulations,” Astronomical Journal, 124, 310, 2002

    With K.V. Johnston and P. Guhathakurta, “Interpreting the Morphology of Diffuse Light around Satellite Galaxies,” Astronomical Journal, 124, 127, 2002

  • Education

    Education

    Ph.D.
    University of California Santa Cruz

    Master of Science
    University of California Santa Cruz

    Bachelor of Arts
    Wesleyan University

    Recent Courses Taught

    • Introductory Astronomy w/Lab
    • Lab, Introductory Astronomy
    • Lab, Observational Astronomy
    • Life in the Universe Laboratory
    • Stellar Structure and Evolution
    • Senior Thesis (Experimental)
    • Independent Study: Physics
  • Awards & Honors

    Awards & Honors

    National Science Foundation, Major Research Instrumentation program, principal investigator on four-year, $637,138 grant, to develop "CCAO-Cam: A Remote-Access, Dual-Band (Optical/NIR) Adaptive Optics System for the Table Mountain 1-meter telescope," 2010-2014

    ARCS Foundation, Scholar, 2001 - 2002

    NASA, California Space Grant Fellow, 1999 – 2000

    National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellow, 1996 - 1999

    Phi Beta Kappa, Connecticut Gamma Chapter, 1995