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Dr. Rene Plume

Assistant Professor (2001 - 2006)
Associate Professor (2006 - present )

B.Sc. - Astronomy & Physics - The University of Toronto (1989)
PhD - Astronomy - The University of Texas at Austin (1995)
Postdoctoral Positions: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (1995-2001)

Research Web Page:

Research Interests:

Dr. Plume's research focuses on the physics and chemistry of the Interstellar Medium, particularly as it relates to star and planet formation.

Modern astronomy involves more than most people realize. Whie the use of physics to understand the origins of galaxies, stars and planets is still fundamental, we have begun to realize that chemistry and even biology play important roles in understanding the universe. The dynamical and physical evolution of a nebulous cloud of interstellar gas on its way to becoming a star and planetary system is also accompanied by an evolution of chemical species which play an important role in regulating this process. In addition, the recent detection of complex molecules in the interstellar medium points to the possibility that the chemicals important to life, and even life itself, might have originated deep in interstellar space.

Dr. Plume's research takes him to radio telescopes around the world (CSO, IRAM, JCMT, etc.) and also includes the use of data from space-based telescopes (SWAS, ODIN, Spitzer, etc.). In addition to collecting data, the use and development of sophisticated theoretical tools are key to interpreting and understanding the data. Dr. Plume is also heavily involved in projects related to future instruments and telescopes such as: SCUBA-2 on the JCMT , the Herschel Space Observatory , and ALMA.

phone: (403) 220-6909
email: plume at