Emory Astronomy honors the physics and astronomy graduates of 2020.

It is a yearly tradition for members of the Emory Astronomy program to salute the year’s physics and astronomy graduates with a ‘launching ceremony’ at the site of the Gravity Monument in the Math and Science Center Courtyard. This monument, donated to the physics department by the eccentric philanthropist Roger Babson in 1963, serves (in its own words) “to remind students of the blessings forthcoming when science determines what gravity is, how it works, and how it may be controlled.” While controlling gravity remains in the realm of science fiction, there is much that is not understood about the nature of this fundamental force. As the then Physics Department Chair Ray DuVarney said to Emory Magazine in 2003, “Gravity is an enigma that’s wrapped up in time. They are intimately connected…Understanding is a never-ending search.”
Emory physics majors who take astronomy courses are immersed in many aspects of how gravity works in the natural world: its role in stellar evolution and galactic dynamics, its expression as extreme spacetime curvature in the theory of General Relativity, and ongoing discoveries about black holes and gravitational waves.
The astronomy faculty and staff are delighted to recognize this year’s seniors graduating with astronomy degrees, and look forward to the day when we can meet again by Emory’s unique landmark.
Justin Bier, Physics & Astronomy BS (double major with Applied Math), magna cum laude.
Thesis: “Discovery of Substructure in Nearby Reverberation-Mapped Active Disk Galaxies with DiskFit” supervised by Dr. Merida Batiste
Sean A. Chandler, Physics & Astronomy BA
Yulin Gong, Physics & Astronomy BS, magna cum laude.
Thesis: "Variability Classification of Disk Detective Candidates” supervised by Dr. Alissa Bans
Sawyer K. Harris, Physics & Astronomy BS
Daniel T. P. Huff, Physics & Astronomy BS
Gabriella Pludo, Astronomy Minor
We also recognize Professor Emeritus Ray DuVarney (1940-2019) for his extraordinary dedication and support of the creation of Emory’s undergraduate astronomy program, including the construction and  installation of the Planetarium and Observatory and the rehabilitation of the Peavine radio telescope for use in physics labs.