Dr. Randall Smith
MS 2
High Energy Astrophysics Division
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
Cambridge, MA 02138


617-495-7143 / 617-495-7356 (Fax)

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I was born in Stow, Ohio, U.S.A., a small town near Kent (where the students were killed many years ago) and Cuyahoga Falls, the river that caught on fire. Fortunately, nothing of note has happened in Stow to date.

Education: In 1991, I received my B.S. in Mathematics and Physics from Carnegie Mellon University. I then went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where I worked with the Space Physics group and my advisor, Dr. Don Cox. I received my Ph.D in 1997 after writing a thesis titled "Modeling the Soft X-Ray Background with Multiple Supernovae".

Present Position: Astrophysicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Research Overview

I began working on the X-rays from the interstellar medium, and much of my work remains related to one or both of those. I have also spent substantial time developing, a collisional plasma code and atomic database, forming the ATOMDB. Currently, I am working on developing the International X-ray Observatory mission. My general interests are as follows:
  • Interstellar Medium: morphology, phases, X-ray emission
  • X-ray Spectra: collisional plasma processes, diffuse emission, supernova remnants, X-ray scattering in dust grains
  • Interstellar Dust: evolution, destruction, cooling
    My CV is also available.

    Frequently Cited Papers

    Collisional Plasma Models with APEC/APED: Emission-Line Diagnostics of Hydrogen-like and Helium-like Ions2001, ApJ Smith, Randall K.; Brickhouse, Nancy S.; Liedahl, Duane A.; Raymond, John C. (400+ citations)
    Multiple Supernova Remnant Models of the Local Bubble and the Soft X-Ray Background2001, ApJSmith, Randall K.; Cox, Donald P.
    Soft X-Ray Scattering and Halos from Dust1998, ApJSmith, Randall K.; Dwek, Eli
    The X-Ray Halo of GX 13+12002, ApJSmith, Randall K.; Edgar,Richard J.; Shafer, Richard A.
    Suzaku Observations of the Local and Distant Hot ISM2007, PASJSmith, R. K. et al.

    X-ray Astronomy School Presentations

    I have given lectures at X-ray Astronomy schools in the US, Brazil, India, South Africa, Egypt, and England. A listing of the all the presentations given at the US schools is available on the X-ray School website. For the overseas schools, please see Keith Arnaud's website. Talks I gave on topics such as the Atomic emission processes relevant to X-rays ( I, II, III ), X-rays and the Interstellar Medium, and High-resolution X-ray Spectroscopy: A Review are available, amongst many others.

    AtomDB and the APEC Plasma Code

    Along with Nancy Brickhouse, Adam Foster, Li Ji, Hiroya Yamaguchi, Priyamvada Desai, John Raymond, and Duane Liehdal, I have developed the AtomDB database, combining the Astrophysical Plasma Emission Code (APEC) and Database (APED). More information about these projects can be found on the ATOMDB webpage.

    Hobbies & Personal Links

  • Married to the lovely and multi-talented Lauren Boice!
  • Check out her word of the day discussion at The Common Parlance
  • Juggling!