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School of Science

Behrend College

Roger F. Knacke 

Roger Knacke

Research Interests

As Director of Penn State Behrend's School of Science, much of my time is spent working with faculty and students in biology, chemistry, computer science, geosciences, mathematics, and physics. Our focus is on providing first-rate science and mathematics experience for students in the classroom and laboratory, based on a strong tradition of excellence in teaching by faculty at Penn State Behrend. New science programs added or expanded in recent years include molecular biology, computer networking, biomathematics, bioinformatics, environmental studies, statistics, grannular flow, computational physics, and secondary education. Cooperative agreements with medical schools and colleges have opened new opportunities in pre-medicine, pre-dentistry, pre-pharmacy, and secondary education. Penn State-Behrend trains graduates for admission to major graduate and professional schools, or to obtain professional positions in business and industry.

In my research, I am interested in astrophysical problems related to the origins of solar systems, interstellar matter, and the search for life in the universe. Using primarily techniques of infrared astronomy, my students, coworkers, and I have studied comets and the atmospheres of the giant planets. Another interest is in environments of disks and planetary systems around other stars. We observe with telescopes on Mauna Kea, Hawaii and other sites. I'm a member of the Solar System Science Team of the ESA Infrared Space Observatory (ISO), an infrared telescope in earth-orbit. I have served on various NASA and NSF committees, including the Keck Observatory NASA Telescope Allocation Committee. Our research is funded through grants from NASA.


    B.S. Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 1963
    Ph.D. Physics, University of California, Berkeley, 1969 

Some Recent Papers
  • Knacke, R.F., S. Fajardo-Acosta & A.T. Tokunaga 2004, Near-Infrared Observations of KH 15D through the 2003 February Eclipse, Astronomical J., 128, 2977.

  • Williams, D.M., & R.F. Knacke 2004, Looking for Planetary Moons in the Spectra of Distant Jupiters, Astrobiology, 4, 400.

  • Knacke, R.F. 2003, Possibilities for the Detection of Microbial Life on Extrasolar Planets, Astrobiology, 3, 531.

  • Knacke, R.F., D.M. Williams, & J. Hall 2003, Building a School Observatory, Mercury, Nov.-Dec., 35.

  • R. S. Fisher, C. M. Telesco, R. K. Pina, R. F. Knacke, & M. C. Wyatt 2000, Detection of Extended Thermal Emission Around the Vega-like Source HD 141569, Astrophys. J. 532, L141

  • C. M. Telesco, R. S. Fisher, R. K. Pina, R. F. Knacke, S. F. Dermott, M. C. Wyatt, K. Grogan, E. K. Holmes, A. M. Ghez, L. Prato, L. W. Hartman, & R. Jayawardhana 2000, Deep 10 and 18 Micron Imaging of the HR 4796A Circumstellar Disk: Transient Dust Particles and Tentative Evidence for a Brightness Asymmetry, Astrophys. J., 530, 329

  • Fajardo-Acosta, S. B., and R. F. Knacke 1995, "IRAS Low Resolution Spectra with Beta Pictoris-Type Silicate Emission", Astron. Astrophys. 295, 767.

  • Lacy, J. H., R. F. Knacke, T. R. Geballe, and A. T. Tokunaga 1994, "Detection of H2 Absorption Toward NGC 2024: A Direct Detection of H2:CO in Molecular Clouds", Astrophys. J., 428, L69.

  • Knacke, R. F., S. B. Fajardo-Acosta, C. M. Telesco, J. M. Hackwell, and D. K. Lynch 1993, "The Silicates in the Disk of Beta Pictoris", Astrophys. J., 418, 440.


My major hobby is my profession, astronomy. I also enjoy classical music, magic (very amateur), tennis, theater, and skiing.

Dr. Roger F. Knacke
Physics Program
Penn State Erie, The Behrend College
Erie, PA 16563
Office: (814) 898 6105
FAX: (814) 898 6213

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Updated July 27, 1999