Robert Owen

  • Associate Professor of Physics

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, with which I was directly involved as a graduate student at Caltech, and as a postdoc at Cornell. 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 eventual 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.

Spring 2023

Computational Modeling — PHYS 290
Classical Mechanics — PHYS 310
Special Problems in Physics and Astronomy — PHYS 451

Fall 2023

Musical Acoustics — PHYS 054
Mechanics and Relativity — PHYS 110
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.