Meet the Rock Stars, Part 10: Dr. Kristine Larsen

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Name:   Dr. Kristine Larsen

Title: Professor

Year Started at CCSU: 1989

Courses Taught: AST 113 The Cosmos, AST 209 Stellar and Galactic Astronomy, AST 278 Observational Astronomy, AST 418 Astrophysics, AST 470 Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology, FYS 104: First Year Seminar [topics include The Science of Middle-earth, The Science of The Walking Dead, Cultural Astronomy], GSCI 102 Earth and the Human Environment, HON 120 Natural Science and Society, ISCI 118 Women’s Contributions to Science, SCI 111 Elementary Physical/Earth Science

Current research projects: My research is in several different areas:

1) Variable stars: student-centered research involves the classification of individual variable stars through their light curves and physical properties; observations of sunspots and variable stars are submitted to the American Association of Variable Star Observers (of which I am currently President);

2) Science pedagogy: includes projects enhancing the preparation of science teachers and combating misconceptions in science, as well as conducting workshops in the use of a medieval astrolabe for teachers, students, and scholars in other disciplines;

3) Science and Popular Culture: myriad projects involving identifying and critiquing the use of science and depictions of both scientists and the scientific method in literature (including the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Robert Heinlein, Phillip Pullman, J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, and Andrzej Sapkowski), television (including Doctor Who, Lost, The Walking Dead, and Dominion), and film (including the Resident Evil series).

Favorite book: No contest here – The Silmarillion, J.R.R. Tolkien’s sweeping creation myth

Favorite film: The Rocky Horror Picture Show

Favorite scientific term: syzygy

Something my students don’t know about me: During my first year as an undergraduate at CCSU I performed the part of Magenta in a live Rocky Horror company in Manchester. Every Saturday night at midnight we would perform the film live while the film itself played above us.

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