Dr. Elsa Johnson
Willamette Hall 177
Department of Physics
University of Oregon


Research Resources

Course Information

Courses Taught

I am a postdoc and instructor at the University of Oregon. My research focuses on supernova Ia cosmology - specifically how biases in SN (supernova) observation effect inferred cosmological properties. My PhD thesis titled, "Host Stellar Population Properties and the Observational Selection Function of Type Ia Supernovae" (U of Oregon, 2010) explores correlations between galaxy regions underlying SNe Ia and the SN colors at maximum brightness.

I also examine how bias in galaxy selection for supernova discovery can effect the interpreted rate of type Ia SNe. In otherwords, do we base most of our supernova knowledge on events that have occurred in bright, nearby large galaxies? Are these events similar to ones occuring in intrinsically dimmer galaxies? Are we even noticing events occuring in these dimmer galaxies? If not, how does this effect their capability as cosmological measuring sticks to determine large distances and in turn, the nature of our accelerating Universe?

These are not easily answered questions and have many avenues of approaching this topic. I rely on writing simulations that try to mimic observational conditions of various historical supernova as well as image (optical and IR) data.

I currently teach Experimental Data Analysis Lab (physics 391). Previously, I taught planetary and stellar astronomy (Astr 121 and 122). To the left are some links to older syllabi, course web pages, interesting links I use in my astronomy classes and my mission statement for general science courses.