Projects

I lead the Spitzer Adaptation of the Red-Sequence Cluster Survey (SpARCS), which has detected hundreds of clusters at z > 1 in the 50 square degree Spitzer SWIRE Legacy Survey Fields. Because clusters are rare, a wide-area survey is important to detect a representative sample. SpARCS' innovation is that it utilizes Spitzer Space Telescope IR observations, in combination with ground-based optical imaging, allowing clusters to be detected to higher redshift than traditional techniques. The SpARCS collaboration is now studying the properties of many of these new clusters in detail.

I lead the Gemini Cluster Astrophysics Spectroscopic Survey (GCLASS), a large (25 night) multi-year (2007-2012) follow-up program of SpARCS clusters using the Gemini Telescopes.

I am also heavily involved with the SERVS and GOGREEN surveys.

Prospective Students

I welcome Graduate Students. If you are already in the UCR Physics & Astronomy Graduate Program and considering studying for a Masters or Ph.D. degree under my supervision, please contact me. If not yet in our department's graduate program you can apply here.

UCR Research Team

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Jeffrey Chan
  • Ben Forrest

  • Ricardo Demarco (2008-2009), currently associate professor at The University of Concepcion, Chile
  • Alessandro Rettura (2009-2012), currently Support Astronomer at W. M. Keck Observatory

  • Graduate Students

  • Mohamed Elhashash (2014-present)
  • Ian McConachie (2016-present) (

  • Andrew DeGroot (graduated 2016)
  • Alireza Farahmandi (graduated 2013)
  • Ryan Foltz (graduated 2017)

  • Undergraduates

  • Adam Lane (2014-2016)
  • Erick Espinoza (2014-2015)
  • Amalia Callahan (summer 2014)
  • Samantha Rorick (winter 2011); 2011-2012 NASA & the Hispanic College Fund ''Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Techmology'' (MUST) Scholar
  • Sarah Logsdon (summer 2010); 2010 UCSD Physical Sciences Dean's Award for Excellence PhD Astronomy UCLA; currently
  • Alex Garabedian (2008 - 2009); currently Brown Physics grad student; 2008 Participant in CUREA undergraduate Astronomy experience program at Mt. Wilson Observatory
  • Wojciech Karas (2008 - 2009); 2008 Undergraduate Winner of UCR Department of Physics & Astronomy Michael Devirian Prize, Winner of Robert Wild Prize for Outstanding Undergraduate in 2009
  • Daniel Seisun (2008 - 2009); currently a business intelligence specialist at Twitter
  • SpARCS Team

  • Gillian Wilson, UC Riverside
  • Adam Muzzin, York University, Canada
  • Tracy Webb, McGill University, Canada
  • Howard Yee, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Chris Lidman, Australian Astronomical Observatory
  • Michael Cooper, UC Irvine
  • Ricardo Demarco, University of Concepcion
  • Michael Balogh, University of Waterloo
  • Hendrik Hildebrandt, Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Bonn., Germany
  • Henk Hoekstra, University of Leiden, Netherlands
  • Mark Lacy, NRAO
  • Dennis Just, University of Toronto, Canada
  • Julie Nantais, Universidad Andrés Bello, Chile
  • Jason Surace, Spitzer Science Center/Caltech
  • Alexandru Tudorica, Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Bonn, Germany
  • Remco van der Burg, CEA Saclay, France
  • Eelco van Kampen, ESO, Germany
  • Nina Bonaventura, McGill University, Canada
  • Anna Delahaye, McGill University, Canada
  • Andrew DeGroot, UC Riverside
  • Ryan Foltz, UC Riverside
  • Mohamed Elhashash, UC Riverside
  • Lydia Elias, UC Riverside
  • Ethan Batson, UC Riverside
  • Teaching

  • PHYS 005 Lower Level Undergraduate History of the Universe
  • PHYS 111 Upper Level Undergraduate Astrophysics and Stellar Astronomy
  • PHYS 166 Upper Level Undergraduate Cosmology
  • PHYS 218 Graduate Introduction to Astrophysics
  • PHYS 215 Graduate Dynamics and Evolution of Galaxies
  • Public Outreach Activities

    Since 2015, my astronomy outreach activities have touched more than 40,000 people. These include 50 K-12 workshops and public telescope viewings, an astrophotography competition which resulted in a traveling picture exhibition, astronomy-themed interdisciplinary honors thesis projects (musical piece and play), an astronomy workshop for the deaf (published as “The Vibrating Universe: Astronomy for the Deaf”, Journal of Science Education and Technology), and hands-on astrophotography projects which have been shown to greatly reduce math anxiety amongst UCR undergraduates (published as “Astrophotography, a portal for engaging non-STEM majors in science”, International Journal of STEM Education). Many of these activities have been in collaboration with Dr. Mario De Leo-Winkler

  • Astronomy for the Deaf. Astronomy workshop we developed and presented at the California School for the Deaf, Riverside (CSDR). It utilizes CSDR's sound stage to turn astronomy phenomenena (rockets, Jupiter, stars, galaxies, CMB) into vibrations.
  • K12 astronomy workshops (12 available).
  • "Music of the Spheres" original classical musical composition by undergraduate student Ryan Straka describing the future collision between the Milky Way, Andromeda, and Triangulum galaxies.
  • More about the "Music of the Spheres" interdisciplinary project between astronomy and music
  • UCR press release about the "Music of the Spheres" interdisciplinary project between astronomy and music
  • "Star Maps, Earth Codes" mixed media theatrical experience incorporating sky lore of the Orion constellation told across civilizations, animated by abstract puppets, lights, and sounds.
  • "Focus on the Universe: Astrophotographers of Southern California" picture exhibition
  • "Focus on the Universe: Astrophotographers of Southern California" picture exhibition
  • "Focus on the Universe: Astrophotographers of Southern California" picture competition
  • "Focus on the Universe" traveling picture exhibition
  • Astrophotography reduces math anxiety amongst undergraduates and serves as gateway into science
  • UCR press release about Astrophotography being a portal to Science
  • Springer blog about Astrophotography project
  • Total Lunar Eclipse 2018
  • Mars' Approach 2018
  • Great American Eclipse 2017
  • Transit of Mercury 2016
  • Lunar Eclipse 2015
  • Teaching Resources

  • "Cool Cosmos" The Infrared Universe
  • NASA's "The Teachers's Corner" - includes Lesson Plans, Posters and Information/Activity Booklets, DVD-ROMS, Data Suitable for Students to Analyze, Links to Education Resources
  • NASA Science For Educators - NASA searchable database of space science products for use in classrooms, science museums, planetariums, and other settings.
  • NSF Astronomy and Space Classroom Resources - a variety of Astronomy resources including Hands-on Labs.
  • NSF Physics Classroom Resources - a variety of Physics resources including Hands-on Labs.
  • "The Physics Classroom" - Online High School Physics Tutorials
  • American Astronomical Society (AAS) K-12 Resources - links to "especially effective astronomy activities designed for K-12 classes and science projects"
  • National Science Teachers Association - a comprehensive list of resources for science teachers
  • "Imagine The Universe" - NASA website intended for students age 14 and up
  • Contact

  • Tel: (951) 827 6274
  • Fax: (951) 827 4529
  • Email: gillianw@ucr.edu
  • Astronomy Faculty Office: Pierce 2112A
  • Office of Research: --