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Contact Info

Minnesota Institute for Astrophysics
U. Minnesota
116 Church St, SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455

Email: (research)
chickw024 at gmail

Email: (academic)
woodw024 at



About me:

I joined the faculty of the MN Institute of Astrophysics at the University of Minnesota in 2000 as a tenured Associate Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2004. Over the last 5 years, my primary focus has centered science initiatives utilizing the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope, and the NASA SOFIA airborne obsevatory, as well as continuing my ground-based observational research related to interstellar dust, comets, and and evolved stars and stellar populations. I also am the Program Directory (and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors for the LBTO Corp.) coordinating the University of Minnesota's involvement in the Large Binocular Telescope and access to telescopes of the Steward Observatories, and the Associate Director of the MLOF and OBO observatories. During the Fall of 2009, I participated in the ground-based remote sensing support team efforts associated with the NASA LCROSS Mission in 2009. Some of the Gemini Observatory LCROSS-related activities are highlighted in this 2010 AAS poster. Image of me - aligned to the
right Currently, I am a member of a international collaboration to detect exoplanets around nearby stars as a member of the LEECH team using the LBT Interferometer. You can follow our progress and the LEECH survey by viewing our blog.

I also teach variety of undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Minnesota ranging from introductory astronomy, freshman seminars, to graduate courses in planetary science and the interstellar medium. My research group, part of the Minnesota Infrared Lab, currently is comprised of one postdoc, two graduate students, and three undergrads. We also maintain a 30TB+ data server, with over 15 client machines dedicated to data analysis activities, and remote telescope operation, managed by our own systems administrator.

In addition to my academic responsibilities, I also am a member of a variety of national advisory boards, such as the Space Studies Board, or previously as Chair (2008-2010) the Board of the Gemini Observatories as part of my professional synergistic activities. I was an elected Councilor (2007-2011) of the American Astronomical Society, and a member of the Ast2010 Panel on Optical and Infrared Astronomy (OIR) chartered to address issues in ground-based astronomy facilities, infrastructure, and initiatives as part of the broader efforts of the Astro2010 Decadal Survey process.