Joseph Andrew Barranco



(415) 338-2450


Associate Professor


Physics and AstronomyCollege of Science and Engineering


Thornton Hall (TH)


At SF State Since: 

August 2007


I was born in Milford, Massachusetts and graduated from Milford High School in 1989 (Go Scarlet Hawks!). I was fortunate to attend Harvard University (Go Crimson!), from where I earned my B.A. in PhysicsAstronomy & Astrophysics, Magna Cum Laude, in 1993. My undergraduate thesis, "Velocity Coherent Structure in the Dense Cores of Dark Molecular Clouds," was done under the guidance of Professor Alyssa A. Goodman. After graduating from Harvard, I worked for two years in the city of Boston as an urban youth worker (assistant director at an after-school tutoring program called Project 21, and a summer day camp called Camp Ozioma; mentor in a gang-intervention program called Gangs Anonymous). I then returned to academia and attended graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!), from where I earned my Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 2004. My Ph.D. thesis, "Theory and Numerical Simulation of Three-Dimensional Vortices in Protoplanetary Disks," was done under the guidance of Professor Philip S. Marcus in the Berkeley Computational Fluid Dynamics Lab. In 2006, my thesis won the Nicholas Metropolis Prize for Outstanding Doctoral Thesis in Computational Physics from the American Physical Society. I also won a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship, which I split between the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at theUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (Go Gauchos!) and the Institute for Theory & Computation at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Go Crimson, again!). I joined the Department of Physics & Astronomy at San Francisco State University (Go Gaters... errr, Gators!) in the summer of 2007.