Dr. Marc A Rafelski


COS Branch Manager &

JHU Associate Research Scientist

rafelski at me dot com

mrafelski at stsci dot edu

I am the COS Branch Manager at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and an Associate Research Scientist at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). I spend half my time supporting the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph instrument on  the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), and the other half conducting astrophysical research.

My research interests include galaxy formation and evolution, star formation, and observational cosmology. Currently, my research aims to further our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies by studying the physical characteristics and processes of high redshift galaxies and their associated gas reservoirs. I have been working towards this via chemical abundance and star formation studies of damped Lyman-alpha systems, which provide a unique laboratory for understanding the conversion of cold neutral gas into stars at high redshift.

From 2019-2020 I was the branch deputy for the Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3). From 2018-2019 I was an archive scientist supporting the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). From 2016-2018 I was a support scientist at STScI supporting the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) instrument on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). From 2014-2016 I was a NASA postdoctoral program fellow at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) working with Jonathan P. Gardner. Before that, from 2011-2014 I was a postdoctoral researcher at IPAC at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena working with Harry Teplitz. I obtained my Ph.D. from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) in 2011, where I worked with Professor Arthur Wolfe.

I am also passionate about teaching; I believe that Astrophysics is a great vehicle for teaching critical thinking and giving the public an appreciation for science. I’m interested in applying inquiry and active based teaching methods to improve science education.