Laura E. Kay

Laura E. Kay

Laura E. Kay joined the Barnard faculty in 1991. In addition to teaching Astronomy, Dr. Kay is also affiliated with the Department of Women's Studies.

Professor Kay is an astronomer who has a particular interest in the study of active galactic nuclei through spectropolarimetry, a technique that permits simultaneous observation of both the spectra and the polarization of an astronomical object. By identifying regions of polarized light, spectropolarimetry yields information about the kinematics, geometry, and spatial distribution of gas and/or dust in an extended object, and about the continuum emission processes. Professor Kay also uses x-ray data to study orientation and obscuration effects in active galactic nuclei.

Professor Kay has traveled to Antarctica, Brazil, and Chile in connection with her research projects.

Professor Kay's teaches courses such as "Life in the Universe," "Stars, Galaxies, and Cosmology," "Women and Science," and "Exploring the Poles."

Professor Kay has served as the Principal Investigator of an NSF CAREER grant in astronomy, and on an NSF/AAC&U grant, "Women and Scientific Literacy," which brought together faculties in science departments and women's studies programs to engage in dialog about issues of women in the sciences.

She has recently served as guest editor for a special issue of the Barnard Center for Research on Women Web journal The Scholar & Feminist Online on "Gender on Ice" for the International Polar Year.