Robert Owen

  • Associate Professor of Physics
  • Chair of Physics and Astronomy

Areas of Study


  • BS in physics, University of Utah, 2001
  • PhD, California Institute of Technology, 2007


I work at the interface of gravitation theory, astrophysics, and computation. Most of my research is with the SXS collaboration, a leading research collaboration focusing on computational general relativity and other exotic astrophysical theory. We use supercomputers to solve Einstein's field equations of general relativity to model the collisions of black holes and neutron stars, which are important sources of gravitational waves. This modeling is crucial for detection of these waves, and for the astrophysical interpretation of such detections. Modeling of these systems also provides a convenient testing ground for understanding more basic open questions about the nature of the classical gravitational field.

Fall 2024

Elementary Physics I — PHYS 103
Modern Physics — PHYS 212
Special Problems in Physics and Astronomy — PHYS 451

Spring 2025

Electricity and Magnetism — PHYS 311
Special Problems in Physics and Astronomy — PHYS 451


Robert Owen Receives Cottrell Scholar Award

March 4, 2015

Assistant Professor of Physics Robert Owen has been granted a Cottrell Scholar Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The award will help support Owen's research on a project entitled, Spin and Horizon Multipoles in Numerical Relativity, and the Visualization of Dynamical Spacetimes.


Helping Kids Think Like Scientists

February 24, 2017

Poised in front of an audience in Wright Lecture Hall, Assistant Professor Robert Owen sprinkles sand on a vibrating plate. But instead of presenting to his usual audience of college students, 51 children fill the seats.

Weird Science at Oberlin

October 11, 2013

Not only does Oberlin excel in conventional scientific education and research, but it offers students an opportunity to study scientific subjects in unconventional and hands-on ways.