About Joseph Andrew Barranco


(415) 338-2450




Physics and AstronomyCollege of Science and Engineering


Thornton Hall (TH)




At SF State Since:

August 2007


B.A. 1993 Harvard University Physics, Astronomy & Astrophysics
Ph.D. 2004 University of California, Berkeley Astrophysics


Chair, Physics & Astronomy San Francisco State University August 2018 - present
Professor, Physics & Astronomy San Francisco State University August 2019 - present
Associate Professor, Physics & Astronomy San Francisco State University August 2013 - July 2019
Assistant Professor, Physics & Astronomy San Francisco State University August 2007 - July 2013
NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics August 2005 - July 2007
NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at U.C.S.B. January 2004 - July 2005


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). In 1995, I started graduate school at the University of California, Berkeley (Go Bears!).  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 the University 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.