Ludovici Named Director of Rose-Hulman’s Oakley Observatory

Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Dominic Ludovici

Ludovici’s research has been focused on the crossroads of astronomy and optical engineering, and he plans to work with optical engineering students to develop instrumentation for telescopes to expand their teaching and research capabilities.

Assistant Professor of Physics and Optical Engineering Dominic Ludovici has been named director of Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology’s Oakley Observatory on campus and the Oakley Southern Sky Observatory in Australia. He replaces the observatories’ founding director Richard Ditteon, who recently retired after 35 years of teaching.

As director, Ludovici will oversee academic and external relations activities as well as supervise maintenance for all equipment at the two observatories. He also will work with Rose-Hulman officials to gain support to keep the facilities on the leading edge of scientific discovery and hands-on learning about astronomy.

“I want to continue the excellent work done by Professor Ditteon in making the campus’ Oakley Observatory a place that’s opened the skies to Rose-Hulman students and members of the local community,” says Ludovici, who has past experience in developing active-learning curriculum topics for astronomy laboratories.

Ludovici’s research has been focused on the crossroads of astronomy and optical engineering, and he plans to work with optical engineering students to develop instrumentation for telescopes to expand their teaching and research capabilities. Smaller telescopes, such as those at the Oakley Observatory, are being used to study the transient sky, exoplanets and low surface brightness objects. He is especially interested in examining how robotic telescope systems can possibly further assist people of all ages to explore their celestial interests.

Support from the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation, Inc. of Terre Haute, provided the Oakley Observatory on campus in 2000. The facility has eight permanently mounted telescopes, each having astronomical camera and internet connections. The Oakley Southern Sky Observatory was founded in 2007 near the Australian outback, with telescopes being controlled remotely from Rose-Hulman. The foundation has provided additional grants to keep the observatories up to date with state-of-the-art equipment.

Ludovici joined the Rose-Hulman faculty in 2017 as a visiting professor and became a full-time assistant professor of physics and optical engineering this fall. He previously was a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa and was public outreach coordinator for the university’s Van Allen Observatory. He earned a doctorate in physics, specializing in astrophysics, from Iowa in 2017 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in physics from West Virginia University in 2011.

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