James Jackson

Professor, Associate Dean for Research and Outreach (CAS)

James Jackson

Office: CAS 605

Phone: 617-358-5264

Email: E-Mail

Research Interests: Radio, infrared and submm astronomy; interstellar medium; starburst galaxies; star formation; the Milky Way; Antarctic astronomy.

Education: BS, Pennsylvania State University
PhD, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Prof. Jackson studies star formation, galactic structure, and the interstellar medium in both the Milky Way and other galaxies using radio, submm, mm, and infrared astronomy. He is PI of the Boston University-Five College Radio Astronomy Observatory Galactic Ring Survey (GRS). The GRS team is mapping a large portion of the Milky Way's molecular 17 gas in order to study its dominant structure, the 5 kpc molecular ring. Recent results include: (1) the study of the structure of molecular clouds, in which we find that all molecular clouds have the same structure independendt of star-formation activity; (2) a new technique to determine the distances to clouds, which resolves a long-standing problem called the "near-far kinematic distance ambiguity"; and (3) a comparison of maps of CS, a dense gas tracer, and 13CO, a column density tracer, which surprisingly shows that 13CO is just as effective in identifying starforming cloud cores as CS.


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