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Darren DePoy Named Texas A&M Science Associate Dean for Research

4 weeks ago /

Dr. Darren L. DePoy, professor of physics and astronomy at Texas A&M University, has been named associate dean for research in the Texas A&M College of Science, effective September 1, 2020, announced Dean Valen E. Johnson.

A member of the Texas A&M Department of Physics and Astronomy since 2008, DePoy is the inaugural holder of the Rachal-Mitchell-Heep Endowed Professorship in Physics and deputy director of the George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy. He also serves as director of the Munnerlyn Astronomical Instrumentation Laboratory, a multidisciplinary proving ground for Texas A&M graduate and undergraduate students in STEM who are helping to develop components for some of the world’s largest ground-based telescopes. In addition, he is current chair of the Texas A&M Council of Principal Investigators.

Darren DePoy
Darren DePoy

As associate dean for research, DePoy will work closely with individual researchers and collectively with each of the college’s five departments to enhance research throughout Texas A&M Science and across the university. He assumes the position previously held since January 2017 by Texas A&M chemist Dr. James D. Batteas, now principal investigator for the National Science Foundation Center for the Mechanical Control of Chemistry.

A world leader in the development of astronomical instrumentation for ground-based telescopes, DePoy spent 18 years building the astronomy program at The Ohio State University, where he served as vice chair for astronomy, prior to coming to Texas A&M. During the past three decades, he has designed and built state-of-the-art optical and infrared astronomical instruments for telescopes all over the world, including some of the first digital imaging systems in astronomy, near-infrared spectrometers and cameras, multi-wavelength cameras, innovative optical spectrographs and a wide-field CCD (charged coupling device) imager. These instruments have been used for a wide variety of science projects, from detecting exoplanets to measuring the fundamental parameters of the universe. His efforts and those of the broader Munnerlyn Laboratory have helped to position Texas A&M as a leader in astronomical instrumentation and a major player in some of the world’s biggest projects, including the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT) and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) in Chile and the Hobby-Eberly Telescope Dark Energy Experiment (HETDEX) in west Texas.

Unlike most experts in instrument design and building, however, DePoy makes active use of his insights and creations. His primary research focuses on the study of active galactic nuclei fueled by enormous black holes and the discovery of exoplanets using microlensing — the rapid brightening and fading of a distant star by a foreground object. Currently, he is leading efforts to build critical components of the GMT and designing new instruments for measuring atmospheres around exoplanets and monitoring the brightness of gravitational-wave sources. He was recognized with a 2015 Texas A&M Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award in Research.

A native of South Bend, Ind., DePoy received his bachelor of science in physics in 1982 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also worked as a laboratory assistant for the Center for Space Research (now known as the Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research). He earned his doctorate in astronomy from the University of Hawaii in 1987, then completed postdoctoral study at Cerro-Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile and Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona before joining the Ohio State faculty in 1990.

To learn more about DePoy and his teaching, research and service, visit https://physics.tamu.edu/directory/darren-depoy/.

For more information about research in the Texas A&M College of Science, go to http://science.tamu.edu/research/.

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About Research at Texas A&M University: As one of the world’s leading research institutions, Texas A&M is at the forefront in making significant contributions to scholarship and discovery, including that of science and technology. Research conducted at Texas A&M represented annual expenditures of more than $952 million in fiscal year 2019. Texas A&M ranked in the top 20 of the National Science Foundation’s most recent Higher Education Research and Development survey (2018), based on expenditures of more than $922 million in fiscal year 2018. Texas A&M’s research creates new knowledge that provides basic, fundamental and applied contributions resulting, in many cases, in economic benefits to the state, nation and world. To learn more, visit Research@Texas A&M.


Contact: Shana K. Hutchins, (979) 862-1237 or shutchins@science.tamu.edu or Dr. Darren L. DePoy, (979) 845-7361 or depoy@tamu.edu

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