Dr. Eileen V. Ryan

Magdalena Ridge Observatory 2.4-meter Telescope
Adjunct Professor of Physics
New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology


  • Research Areas: Observational Studies of Asteroid Families, Experimental Studies of Asteroid Impacts, Numerical Simulations of Impact Fragmentation, Cratering on Asteroidal Surfaces, and Education Initiatives.
  • Other Interests: Astrophotography , Science Fiction, Star Trek, Art, Rock Climbing , Skiing, Scuba Diving.

  • Biography:

    Eileen V. Ryan is currently the Project Scientist and Manager of the Magdalena Ridge Observatory's 2.4-meter Telescope Project. Her initial involvement in this initiativeoccured while she was an Assistant Professor of Physics at New Mexico Highlands University, and Co-Chair of the Physics Department. Previously, she was a Research Scientist affiliated with the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona. She completed her Ph.D. dissertation, entitled ``Catastrophic Collisions: Laboratory Impact Experiments, Hydrocode Simulations, and the Scaling Problem'', in Planetary Geophysics at the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 1992. She also has an M.S. degree in Astronomy from New Mexico State University, and a B.A. in Physics from Rutgers University. Her research work involves theoretical studies of collisions and the fragmentation process using a two-dimensional continuum damage numerical hydrocode, modified to include strength effects and the Grady-Kipp fragmentation algorithm. This hydrocode is used to determine how collisional outcome depends on target size, providing a better understanding of impact processes in the solar system (e.g., asteroid collisional evolution, planetary accretion, ring system dynamics, etc.). She has also designed and implemented an experiment program to study impacts and their collisional outcomes under various initial conditions. She has played a major role (principal and co-investigator) in writing proposals and securing funding for the theoretical and experimental programs described above, and has refereed papers on these subjects for Icarus, Nature, the Astronomical Journal, and the Journal of Geophysical Research. She also has experience in image processing and analysis as part of the Galileo Mission Project. She has been involved in the study of the cratered surfaces of asteroids Gaspra and Ida, imaged by the Galileo spacecraft.

    In the education field, she has been a science mentor to undergraduate students from the NASA Space Grant Program for many years, and has sponsored several high school students in a similar outreach program over a four year period. Further, she has been the lead scientist in developing additional outreach programs involving various local middle schools, high schools, and two community colleges, and has consulted for the local Project ASTRO coalition, which pairs teachers with scientist mentors. As part of the Galileo SSI Education and Public Outreach team, she has authored education modules to be used in middle-school classrooms. She also served as the Director of Discovery Park's Gov Aker Observatory in Safford, Az, where she implemented outreach activities and lectures for school curriculum augmentation, working with school children in grades K-14, locally, and on the San Carlos Reservation.

    She is familiar with Unix, VMS, Macintosh, and Windows95/NT computer systems, Fortran programming, and hypertext markup language.

    Curriculum Vitae:

    References :

    Funding History :

    Research Projects:

    Laboratory Impact Experiments

    Numerical Simulations of Impact Fragmentation

    Impact Fragmentation of Kuiper Belt Objects

    5 th Workshop on Catastrophic Disruption in the Solar System  NEW!

    ACM Notes: Ida Spectral Studies

    Comet Hyakutake --VATT 1.8m Observations

    Kuiper Belt Icarus Paper --DRAFT!


    Education Projects:

    Courses Taught at New Mexico Highlands University

    Astronomy Education Lectures: (Gov Aker Observatory)

    High School Supercomputing Internet Project

    Navigating the Solar System (Galileo SSI Outreach)

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