Columbia University
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Center for Backyard Astrophysics


Joe Patterson     Joe Patterson
electronic mail:     jop@astro.columbia.edu
office:     1316 Pupin Physics Laboratories
telephone:     +1 (212) 854 - 3276
facsimile:     +1 (212) 854 - 8121


Lecture Courses

   
Autumn 2016
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:10pm - 5:25pm, Pupin 329
    Spring 2017
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:10pm - 5:25pm, Pupin 428
Syllabus: 3 pages (862KB PDF)
Book: PDF (116 pages, 29MB, rev. 28 January 2016)
         ePub (38MB)
   
Autumn 2015
Astr 2001: Introduction to Astrophysics, I
Mondays & Wednesdays, 2:40pm - 3:55pm, Pupin 414
Syllabus: 3 pages (1.3MB PDF)
    Spring 2016
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 2:40pm - 3:55pm, Hamilton 702
   
Autumn 2014
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 1:10pm - 2:25pm, Pupin 329
    Spring 2015
Astr 1404: Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology
Tuesdays & Thursdays, 4:10pm - 5:25pm, Pupin 329
Syllabus: 3 pages (1.7MB PDF)
   
Autumn 2013
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:10pm - 2:25pm, Pupin 329
    Spring 2014
Astr 3646: Observational Astronomy
Thursdays, 7:00pm - 9:00pm, Pupin 1332
   
Autumn 2012
Astr 1610: Theories of the Universe, From Babylon to the Big Bang
Mondays & Wednesdays, 1:10pm - 2:25pm, Pupin 329
    Spring 2013
Astr 2900: Frontiers of Astrophysics
Fridays, 10:10am - 11:25am, Pupin 1332


Research Interests

CV Most stars are found in binaries, yet the theory of stellar evolution is almost exclusively about single stars. It is high time to remedy that oversight! Towards that end, one of my major research goals is to understand the structure and evolution of cataclysmic variables, especially the oldest ones (the WZ Sge and AM CVn stars) where both components have evolved to degenerate states.

DQ Her model

I have also been working for 20 years to understand the structure of DQ Her stars, often called intermediate polars in those parts of the world where confusion and error still reign (particularly east of the mid-Atlantic ridge). Look, there's one at the right. Click on the 1994 review paper, and wallow in this subject a bit.

Until recently my observational activity was ~60% from the National Observatories, maybe 30% from various X-ray telescopes, 10% from other satellites. But in ~1991 we formed the Center for Backyard (neé Basement) Astrophysics, a network of primarily amateur astronomers spanning the globe and collaborating on observation of variable stars. This has provided a powerful tool to study periodic processes in these stars, free from aliasing (because of the global distribution) and free from problems with weather (it's always clear somewhere). CBA map It also proved timely, because it was just about then that NOAO decided to kick us out (they don't like 15th mag stars anymore). Click on the CBA, and read all about us. I'm particularly interested in precession phenomena in accretion disks, which are manifested as superhumps.


Background

1996 - present     Professor, Department of Astronomy, Columbia University
2002 - 2003     250th Anniversary Distinguished Teaching Professor, Princeton University
1997     Presidential Teaching Award, Columbia University
1988 - 1996     Associate Professor, Department of Astronomy, Columbia University
1983 - 1988     Assistant Professor, Department of Astronomy, Columbia University
1980 - 1983     Research Scientist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
1979 - 1980     Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Michigan
1979     Ph.D. (Astronomy), University of Texas
1969     A.B. (Magna Cum Laude, History of Science), Harvard University


Selected Publications

· "Distances and Absolute Magnitudes of Dwarf Novae: Murmurs of Period Bounce, M.N.R.A.S., 411, 2695 (June 2011).
· "Accretion-Disk Precession and Substellar Secondaries in Cataclysmic Variables," P.A.S.P., 113, 736 (June 2001).
· "Superhumps in Cataclysmic Binaries. XVII. AM Canum Venaticorum," with D. Skillman, J. Kemp, D. Harvey, R. Fried, A. Retter, Y. Lipkin, & T. Vanmunster, P.A.S.P., 111, 1281 (October 1999).
· "Late Evolution of Cataclysmic Variables," P.A.S.P., 110, 1132 (October 1998).
· "The DQ Herculis Stars", P.A.S.P., 106, 209 (March 1994).
· "The Evolution of Cataclysmic and Low-Mass X-Ray Binaries", Ap.J. Supp., 280, 688 (May 1984).
~ Astrophysics Data System Literature Query ~


Distractions . . .

Major League Baseball Sierra Club
Boston Red Sox Appalachian Mountain Club
PGA History of Science Society
LPGA Society for American Baseball Research



rev. 14 January 2017 jop@astro.columbia.edu