Dr. John Tomsick
Hi! I am an 3rd year PhD student and NSF Graduate Fellow in the astronomy department. I am the Deputy Project Scientist for the CuRIOS (CubeSats for Rapid Infrared and Optical Surveys) mission, and the lead for the Student Collaboration Project known as BTO (the Background and Transient Observer) that will fly on the NASA-funded small-explorer satellite called COSI (Compton Spectrometer and Imager) in 2027. My experience includes data analysis (both observation and simulation) of compact objects in the optical and gamma-ray regimes, the design and assembly of space-based instrumentation (with an emphasis on optical CMOS and gamma-ray scintillator detectors), and the management of million to tens of million dollar space missions. On these projects, I work with and mentor six fantastic undergraduates with degrees ranging from astronomy/physics to electrical engineering/computer science at Berkeley.
I grew up in rural Okoboji, IA, and graduated from the University of Iowa as a Goldwater Scholar with a BS in physics, BS in astronomy (with honors), and a BA in English & Creative Writing (with honors). At Iowa, I worked with Dr. Phil Kaaret on building, testing, and analyzing data from the HaloSat CubeSat and Dr. Robert Mutel on radio astronomy. Outside of astronomy, I am super excited about all things writing/reading/art, random hobbies (currently knitting), and being outdoors. Feel free to contact me via email!
Through my research, I intend to build a fleet of satellites which I will use to study the death and afterlife of stars in the optical and gamma-ray regimes. A main focus outside of my science will be to design satellite constellations with the sustainability of low-Earth-orbit, future space exploration, and the human right to dark skies in mind. This work will be available for all academic/private/military satellite programs to ensure we keep space an exciting and accessible frontier!
- Space-based Instrumentation
- Time-domain astronomy with compact objects
- Space-based sustainability