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Raja GuhaThakurta

Professor/Astronomer, Department Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics

University of California Santa Cruz, University of California Observatories

Creating Equity in STEAM (CrEST) – access to research for students and educators everywhere


I will present highlights from my group's astrophysics research: galaxy structure, dynamics, and collisions; stellar populations; etc. My talk will be illustrated by images and videos from the James Webb Space Telescope, Hubble Space Telescope, Keck telescopes, and other telescopes. My UCSC colleagues and I engage students at all levels in our research through the Creating Equity in STEAM (CrEST) umbrella of programs: Shadow the Scientists (StS), Python and Research (PyaR and ReComBio), Science Internship Program (SIP), etc. Finally, I will describe my career trajectory, educational background, passions, and hobbies.

Meet the Speaker:

Raja GuhaThakurta (PhD, Astrophysical Sciences, Princeton University) is a Professor and Department Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UC Santa Cruz. His research topics include galaxy formation, mergers, dark matter, etc. using the Keck and Hubble telescopes. He founded the successful Science Internship Program (SIP; for high school students in 2009. As an offshoot of SIP, Raja and his colleagues started the Creating Equity in STEAM (CrEST; umbrella of initiatives in 2020, which includes (among others): (1) Shadow the Scientists (StS, 2020;, a virtual window into researchers and research in action; (2) PyaR (Python and Research) (PyaR, 2018;, a free online programming tutorial; and (3) Global SPHERE Network (2017), a community of practice for researchers who engage high school students in STEAM research. Raja has taught astrophysics for UCSC COSMOS ( and algebra for Project for Inmate Education (PIE; at Santa Cruz County Jail. He teaches introductory astronomy classes at UCSC. He dabbles in art in his (non-existent!) free time (

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