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David Burrows

David Burrows

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  • Professor
517 Davey Lab
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-2466


  1. 1982, Ph.D., Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Thesis Advisor: Professor William Kraushaar
  2. 1976, M.S., Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  3. 1975, B.A. (Honors), Physics/Music, Beloit College

Selected Publications

Helder, E. A., Broos, P. S., Dewey, D., Dwek, E., McCray, R., Park, S., Racusin, J. L., Zhekov, S. A. and Burrows, D. N. 2013, "Chandra Observations of SN 1987A: The Soft X-Ray Light Curve Revisited", ApJ, 764, 11

 Burrows, D. N., Kennea, J. A., Ghisellini, G., Mangano, V., Zhang, B., Page, K. L., Eracleous, M., Romano, P., Sakamoto, T., Falcone, A. D., and 48 colleagues 2011, "Relativistic jet activity from the tidal disruption of a star by a massive black hole", Nature, 476, 421-424. 

Tanvir, N. R., Fox, D. B., Levan, A. J., Berger, E., Wiersema, K., Fynbo, J. P. U., Cucchiara, A., Kruhler, T., Gehrels, N., Bloom, J. S., and 53 colleagues 2009, "A gamma-ray burst at a redshift of z~8.2", Nature, 461, 1254-1257.

 Racusin, J. L., Karpov, S. V., Sokolowski, M., Granot, J., Wu, X. F., Pal'Shin, V., Covino, S., van der Horst, A. J., Oates, S. R., Schady, P., and 83 colleagues 2008, "Broadband observations of the naked-eye gamma-ray burst GRB080319B", Nature, 455, 183-188.

Campana, S., Mangano, V., Blustin, A. J., Brown, P., Burrows, D. N., Chincarini, G., Cummings, J. R., Cusumano, G., Della Valle, M., Malesani, D., and 29 colleagues 2006, "The association of GRB 060218 with a supernova and the evolution of the shock wave", Nature, 442, 1008-1010.

Cusumano, G., Mangano, V., Chincarini, G., Panaitescu, A., Burrows, D. N., La Parola, V., Sakamoto, T., Campana, S., Mineo, T., Tagliaferri, G., and 22 colleagues 2006, "Gamma-ray bursts: Huge explosion in the early Universe", Nature, 440, 164.

Burrows, D. N., Hill, J. E., Nousek, J. A., Kennea, J. A., Wells, A., Osborne, J. P., Abbey, A. F., Beardmore, A., Mukerjee, K., Short, A. D. T., and 14 colleagues 2005, "The Swift X-Ray Telescope", Space Science Reviews, 120, 165-195.

Burrows, D. N., Romano, P., Falcone, A., Kobayashi, S., Zhang, B., Moretti, A., O'Brien, P. T., Goad, M. R., Campana, S., Page, K. L., and 24 colleagues 2005, "Bright X-ray Flares in Gamma-Ray Burst Afterglows", Science, 309, 1833-1835.

Gehrels, N., Sarazin, C. L., O'Brien, P. T., Zhang, B., Barbier, L., Barthelmy, S. D., Blustin, A., Burrows, D. N., Cannizzo, J., Cummings, J. R., and 67 colleagues 2005, "A short gamma-ray burst apparently associated with an elliptical galaxy at redshift z = 0.225", Nature, 437, 851-854.

Gehrels, N., Chincarini, G., Giommi, P., Mason, K. O., Nousek, J. A., Wells, A. A., White, N. E., Barthelmy, S. D., Burrows, D. N., Cominsky, L. R., and 61 colleagues 2004, "The Swift Gamma-Ray Burst Mission", The Astrophysical Journal, 611, 1005-1020.

Hester, J. J., Mori, K., Burrows, D., Gallagher, J. S., Graham, J. R., Halverson, M., Kader, A., Michel, F. C., and Scowen, P. 2002, "Hubble Space Telescope and Chandra Monitoring of the Crab Synchrotron Nebula", The Astrophysical Journal, 577, L49-L52.

Burrows, D. N., Michael, E., Hwang, U., McCray, R., Chevalier, R. A., Petre, R., Garmire, G. P., Holt, S. S., and Nousek, J. A. 2000, "The X-Ray Remnant of SN 1987A", The Astrophysical Journal, 543, L149-L152.

Burrows, D. N. and Mendenhall, J. A. 1991, "Soft X-ray shadowing by the Draco cloud", Nature, 351, 629-631.

McCammon, D., Burrows, D. N., Sanders, W. T., and Kraushaar, W. L. 1983, "The soft X-ray diffuse background", The Astrophysical Journal, 269, 107-135  (my thesis paper).



Research Interests

X-ray instrumentation, gamma-ray burst afterglows, supernova remnants.


Major accomplishments: 

First all-sky soft X-ray maps (1982); first flight of an X-ray CCD camera (1987); first detection of celestial X-rays using a CCD camera (1990); discovery of first X-ray shadow of the diuse soft X-ray background (1991); first measurement of the X-ray size of SNR1987A (1999); successful fabrication, testing, and launch of the X-Ray Telescope on the Swift Explorer (1999-2004), localization of first short GRB afterglow (GRB 050509B; 2005); discovery of X-ray flares in GRBs (2005); discovery of first shock breakout from surface of exploding star (2006); brightest GRB ever seen (2008), highest redshift GRB (z=8.2; 2009), discovery of relativistic jet emission from tidal disruption event (2011).


"We do not ask for what purpose the birds do sing, for their song is pleasure since they were created for singing. Similarly, we ought not ask why the human mind troubles to fathom the secrets of the heavens. The diversity of the phenomena of Nature is so great, and the treasures hidden in the heavens so rich, precisely in order that the human mind shall never be lacking in fresh nourishment." -- Kepler


"The poetry of motion is a phrase much in use, and to enjoy the epic form of that gratification it is necessary to stand on a hill at a small hour of the night, and, having first expanded with a sense of difference from the mass of civilized mankind, who are dreamwrapt and disregardful of all such proceedings at this time, long and quietly watch your stately progress through the stars. After such a nocturnal reconnoitre it is hard to get back to earth, and to believe that the consciousness of such majestic speeding is derived from a tiny human frame." -- Thomas Hardy

Honors and Awards

  • 2009: Maria and Eric Muhlmann Award of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (Swift)
  • 2007, 2015, 2016: Top 1% of citations in the field of Space Science (In-Cites Essential Science Indicators)
  • 2007: Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • 2007: Bruno Rossi Prize of the High Energy Astrophysics Division of the American Astronomical Society (Swift)
  • 2007: NASA Group Achievement Award "For the ground system development and spectacularly successful operations of the Swift mission."

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