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Stephen S. Lawrence

Professor of Physics and Astronomy


PHD, 1994, University Michigan; MS, 1990, University Michigan; BA, 1988, Univ Chicago


Professor Stephen Lawrence earned a BA in physics from The University of Chicago, and an MS and PhD in astronomy from the University of Michigan.  He held research postdoctoral research positions at the National Observatory of Mexico and Columbia University.  His research interests include stellar explosions and their nebulous remnants, light echoes and interstellar dust, the search for planets around other stars and astrobiology.  He regularly uses the orbiting Hubble Space Telescope, as well as large telescopes in Arizona and Chile, to conduct his research.  He also interested in issues of gender and LGBTIQ representation and equality in the physical science professions.

Recent papers:

Sokolosky, Crotts, Lawrence and Uthas, “The Recurrent Nova T Pyx: Distance and Remnant Geometry from Light Echoes,” Astrophysical Journal Letters, 770, L33 (Jun 2013)

Larsson, et al., “X-ray Illumination of the Ejecta of Supernova 1987A,” Nature, 474, 484, (Jun 2011)
France, et al., “Observing Supernova 1987A with the Refurbished Hubble Space Telescope,” Science, 329, 1624 (Sep 2010)

Research with Hofstra students:

Damon Pappas ’13, BS in Physics, Minor in Astronomy and Mathematics
Hofstra University, MS in Medical Physics program, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

Damon worked with Professor Lawrence on Kepler Space Telescope data searching for exoplanets orbiting other stars.  They independently confirmed the existence of two planets using the method of transit timing variations.

Lauren Palladino ’07, BS in Physics & Mathematics, Minor in Astronomy
PhD in Astronomy, Vanderbilt University 2014
Lauren worked with Dr. Lawrence on Hubble Space Telescope imaging and International Ultraviolet Explorer spectra of the region surrounding Supernova 1987A, working to create an extremely deep image of its galactic surroundings and to search for ultraviolet counterparts to its famous optical light echoes.  Her research was presented at the Astronomical Society of New York Spring 2007 meeting and the American Astronomical Society meeting in June 2007. 

  • Stephen Lawrence; Palladino, L.; Crotts, A.; Poster Presentation, “The Elusive Ultraviolet Light Echo of Supernova 1987A.” American Astronomical Society, Honolulu, Hawaii, May 2007.                   
  • Stephen Lawrence; Palladino, L.; “Is There an Echo in Here Out There?” Astronomical Society of New York, Hempstead, New York, April 2007.

Maurice Hayon ’03, BS in Physics, Minor in Mathematics and Secondary Education
Currently working in the Department of Physical Sciences, Baldwin High School, Baldwin, NY
Maurice worked with Dr. Lawrence on Hubble Space Telescope imaging data on Supernova 1987A, searching for its optical light echoes in the Large Magellanic Cloud.  He presented his research in an award-winning poster at a regional meeting of the American Physical Society and also at the American Astronomical Society in January 2003.

  • Lawrence, Hayon, Sugerman and Crotts, “HST Archival Imaging of the Light Echoes of SN 1987A,” poster presented at the 201st meeting of the American Astronomical Society, Seattle, WA, January 2003

Teaching Interests

astronomy, astrobiology, physics

Research Interests

Stellar explosions and their remnants, light echoes, extra-solar planets and astrobiology

Recent Courses Taught

Course Title Level
ASTR 011 (NS) THE SOLAR SYSTEM Undergraduate
PHYS 001B (NS) ELEM PHYSICS LAB Undergraduate
Photo of Stephen Lawrence

Chemistry Physics Bldg. 102C
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