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Department Research

This page is currently being work will contain the research that our faculty and students have worked on and are currently working on.


My primary research interest is in using supernovae to measure cosmological parameters. I collaborate with the Supernova Cosmology Project. Saul Perlmutter, the leader of the Supernova Cosmology Project, was awarded the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics. See his publications here

I’m working on measuring the brightness of the night sky in support of a proposal for a dark sky reserve in the San Luis Valley. This work will involve assembling a Sky Quality Meter measurement system, programming the data acquisition, and analysis software. We will also need to use GIS software to map our results. The research will involve a few trips to the Baca campus.

 I typically like to have two or three students help me with this work during the academic year.


My research focuses on understanding the stories of binary stars. I use data from both space-based and ground-based telescopes to study stars in binary systems that have been fundamentally changed by the presence of their companion. With the help of my research collaborators I have studied data from the Hubble Space Telescope, Chandra X-ray Observatory, the WIYN 3.5m Telescope, the McDonald Observatory 2.7m, and Gemini South. See papers here

I also am a co-creator of The Gift – an installation theater piece that activates my research on blue straggler stars. Together with my collaborator Janani Balasubramanian, we aim to cross typical disciplinary boundaries to create art-science pieces that re-inscribe outer space as feminist space. For more information on our project please visit or

RS42835_12_8_2014_Staff-Portraits_0083.jpegI typically look for students that have taken PC 251 and PC 261 to work on building/developing the prototype of an inexpensive Fourier Transform Interferometer designed specifically for small samples.  If that means little to you, that’s ok, we’re basically trying to make a $30,000 instrument for about $5000.  You’ll learn about optics, spectroscopy, computer interfacing, machining (mostly designing), troubleshooting, Googling, and reading catalogs.  You’ll work independently mostly, and possibly with one other student.

I normally do research during the regular school year.  Students should contact me via email if they are interested. 

KristineLang.jpegIn graduate school she studied high-temperature superconductors with scanning tunneling microscopy, receiving her Ph.D. from Berkeley in 2001. For her postdoc and pre-tenure research at Colorado College she transitioned to using atomic force microscopy (AFM) to study thin insulators used in solid state quantum bits.

For the last decade, she has been collaborating with a microbiologist, Phoebe Lostroh, to study the genetic and physical basis of natural transformation in bacteria. Natural transformation is the ability possessed by some bacteria to import foreign DNA across their outer membrane and incorporate it into their own genomes. The work combines both AFM and microbiological techniques. Dr. Lang involves undergraduate students extensively in all her research. You can see some examples of her papers here.

Past and Present Student Research

  • Surface modification of Brass using atmospheric pressure plasma jet; Adam Light
Report an issue - Last updated: 07/16/2021