John O’Meara is an Associate Professor at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, Vermont, and currently serves as Chair of the Department of Physics. John is a research astrophysicist, specializing in the study of the intergalactic medium, the circumgalactic medium of galaxies, and observational tests of Big Bang Nucleosynthesis.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in Physics from the University of Washington in 1997, John began his graduate studies at the University of California, San Diego. There, using data from the Keck and Lick telescopes on the ground, and the Hubble Space Telescope in space, John began his research career studying quasar absorption lines, with a focus on observational constraints of the baryon density of the universe during Big Bang Nucleosynthesis. At UCSD, John also began work on larger surveys of the Lyman-alpha forest to help inform cosmological models and simulations. He received his Ph.D. in 2004. John did his postdoctoral research at MIT, where he began his study of the circumgalactic medium of galaxies utilizing the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Magellan telescopes at Las Campanas, Chile. After teaching briefly for Penn State, John began teaching at Saint Michael’s College (a small Liberal Arts College in Vermont) in 2008, where he continues to actively pursue his research programs with collaborators around the world. John received the Scholarship Award from Saint Michael’s in 2014, and in 2015 was elected a member of the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering.
John also has a strong interest in science policy issues at the federal level. Since 2014, he has served on the American Astronomical Society’s Committee for Astronomy and Public Policy, and he frequently meets with Congressional staff in Washington D.C. to discuss astronomy and space science policy and legislation.
John has served as a referee for the AJ, ApJ, A&A, and MNRAS journals, and has served on proposal review panels for NASA, HST, NSF, and NASA Space Grant. He is an active member of many large international collaborations, currently serves on an International Science Development Team for the Thirty Meter Telescope project, and is a member of the UV-VIS Science interest group for the NASA Cosmic Origins Program Analysis Group. He is a member of the American Astronomical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.