Andrew McNichols

B.A. Physics, B.S. Astronomy (Class of 2014)

  • During my time at UHH I was treasurer of the UAC for one year, volunteered at the Mauna Kea Visitor Information Station, and achieved PADI Rescue diver certification through the UH student recreation program.

  • Where you are now and what you're doing:
    I have just completed a year-long post-baccalaureate research position at Macalester College, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where I participated in a near-field galaxy evolution study (SHIELD), of which my supervisor Dr. John Cannon is the PI. I am in the process of publishing the results of that work and simultaneously moving to Charlottesville, Virginia to work as a data analyst for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory at the North American ALMA Science Center.

  • Areas of specialty:
    • I currently specialize in low-energy spectroscopic data reduction, visualization, and analysis, which usually involves creating or modifying software.
  • Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career:
    I was fortunate enough to be able to engage with the rich astronomical community and resources that UH Hilo so uniquely provides:
    Through a special topics course with Dr. Marianne Takamiya, I performed my first research in astronomy using Sloan Digital Sky Survey data, publishing my results in Hohonu and presenting at the first ALEX research symposium.
    Subsequently, I worked on...
    - NIR spectroscopic data reduction pipelines as a science intern for Drs. Rachel Mason and Richard McDermid at Gemini Observatory
    - Secondary cosmic ray muon detection in collaboration with Robert Pipes and Dr. Jesse Goldman through a Fellowship with the Hawai'i Space Grant
    - Polarization modeling of protostellar molecular clouds in the ISM as an Akamai science intern for Dr. Ramprasad Rao at the Submillimeter Array.
  • After graduating from UH Hilo, I moved to Saint Paul, Minnesota, and throughout my brief tenure as a full-time researcher, I have:

    • Presented results at the 225th AAS in Seattle, WA
      Come back to Hawai'i to present results at the 29th IAU General Assembly in Honolulu!
  • Brief Bio:
I was born and raised in Stamford, CT on the East Coast of the mainland United States. I was fascinated by science at a young age, and became interested again during my first year as an undergraduate, at the University of Vermont in Burlington. So I moved to Hawai'i and got to work!

  • What attracted you to UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy?:
The astronomy program and UH Hilo's proximity to the best ground-based observatories in the world, on Mauna Kea. Once I was exposed to the curriculum, I realized the power that comes from understanding the fundamental forces of nature, so I made sure to focus on Earth-bound physics as well as the "exotic" astrophysics.

  • Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy:
Attempt to truly self-actualize during your precious time as an undergraduate. Take control of your personal, academic, and professional self; engage with your faculty as much as possible. Try to expand your perspective, solidify good habits, and nurture your relationships so that you come out of UH Hilo prepared and excited for your next challenge. Remember to relax and enjoy everything and everyone around you, because you are in a special situation!

Andrew McNichols 2014 UH Hilo Physics and Astronomy Alumni
  • Website:
I don't have a personal website right now although I am in the process of creating some content for the Internet (so hopefully that will change soon)! In the meantime, this will have to suffice.

(last edit 9/21/15)

 Faculty and Students working on Muon Project