Research - Renee James

Dr. C. Renee James has been part of the physics faculty since 1999. Her primary classroom duty is teaching introductory astronomy for non-science majors, something that she does with great enthusiasm. She has twice been nominated for the University's Excellence in Teaching Award, and her unique teaching methods earned her a Gold Star award from NASA's IGES for inspiring uses of Hubble in Education. Every other summer she and Dr. Scott Miller (Department of Physics) lead an introductory class to Arizona and Australia to experience the astronomical events they would otherwise only read about (The next class is scheduled for Summer I 2014).

Trained as a stellar spectroscopist at the astronomy department of the University of Texas at Austin, she later switched gears from determining the chemical abundances of metal-poor stars in favor of exploring interesting connections in astronomy and the history of science. She has written extensively for both Astronomy and Sky and Telescope magazines ("What Has Astronomy Done For You Lately?"), and was awarded the Popular Science Writing Award by the Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society. She recently authored "Seven Wonders of the Universe That You Probably Took for Granted" (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010), and is currently working on a book about the surprising life-changing results of seemingly impractical pure science research.

Recently Dr. James was awarded a grant from NASA to work with Dr. Miller and Dr. Andrea Foster from the College of Education to create a workshop to train regional secondary teachers in the nature of astronomical research.