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Erin Guilfoil Cox


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Contact Information:


  • Dust Polarization in Star Formation
  • Evolution of protoplanetarty disks
  • High resolution imaging of protoplanets
  • Grain growth in disks

Research Description

My research focuses on protoplanetary disks-- from their birth, through the formation of protoplanets. Specifically, I study dust continuum polarization signatures from the youngest disks and the environment surrounding them. Using multi-wavelength observations, I can disentangle the magnetic field from the scattering contribution in the polarization observations. Combining my high resolution data with observations that probe larger scale polarization allows me to build a multi-scale picture of how the inferred magnetic field morphology changes and provides insight into how magnetic fields observationally affect young disk growth. I also use sub-mm continuum observations of more evolved disks to characterize their flux and sizes. These older disks are likely the sites of planet formation so knowing more about the mass reservoirs that are available during this phase addresses questions surrounding our current understanding of exoplanet systems.


  • B.S., Physics/ Astronomy, University of Arizona, 2012

Distinctions / Awards


  • Illinois Space Grant Consortium Fellowship (2015-2016)
  • NRAO Student Observing Support Award (2016-2017)


Journal Articles

  • Cox, Erin G., Robert J. Harris, Leslie Looney, Dominique Segura-Cox, John Tobin, Zhi-Yun Li, Ɓukasz Tychoniec, Claire Chandler, Michael Dunham, Kaitlin Kratter, Carl Melis, Laura Perez, and Sarah Sadavoy. "High-resolution 8 mm and 1 cm Polarization of IRAS 4A from the VLA Nascent Disk and Multiplicity (VANDAM) Survey." The Astrophysical Journal Letters 814.2 (2015): L28.