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Jennifer Hoffman

Professor, Womble Chair; Director of Chamberlain Observ

What I do

I am a full professor and astronomer who is committed to the idea that science is for everyone and science needs everyone! I work to make my professional communities accessible, equitable, inclusive, and welcoming for all students.


astronomy, astrophysics, computational physics

Professional Biography

I earned my Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Wisconsin and held a National Science Foundation Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellowship at UC Berkeley before joining the faculty at DU. I hold the Womble Chair of Astronomy and direct DU's historic Chamberlin Observatory. My research interests focus on the late stages of massive stellar evolution, in particular on the role of binary stars in shaping supernova explosions. I use a combination of observational spectropolarimetry and 3-D computational modeling to explore these research questions. I also see my roles as an educator and mentor as a vital part of my scholarship. In all these arenas, I work to expand opportunities and remove barriers to participation in physics and astronomy for people from historically underrepresented groups.


  • Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002

Professional Affiliations

  • American Astronomical Society
  • Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society


I use a combination of observational spectropolarimetry and numerical/computational Monte Carlo radiative transfer simulations to characterize the circumstellar material around massive binary stars and supernovae.

Areas of Research

stellar evolution
binary stars
radiative transfer
science education

Key Projects

  • Collaborative Research: Asymmetry is Destiny: Structure and Fate of Wolf-Rayet Binary Systems
  • GPOL+NIRI: Commissioning the GPOL Facility Polarization Modulator on Gemini North
  • Collaborative Research: The Aspherical Nature and Evolution of Supermovae
  • Double Vision: New Views of Colliding-Wind Binary Systems

Featured Publications

Fullard, A. G., St-Louis, N., Moffat, A. F. J., Piirola, V. E., Manset, N., & Hoffman, J. L. (2020). A Multi-Wavelength Search for Intrinsic Linear Polarization in Wolf-Rayet Winds. The Astronomical Journal, 159, 214.


Hoffman, J. L., Fetrow, K., Broder, E. D., Murphy, S. M., Tinghitella, R., & Hart, Q. (2018). Astronomy in Denver: Effects of a summer camps on girls' preconceived notions of careers in STEM. American Astronomical Society. Denver, CO: American Astronomical Society.
Hoffman, J. L., DeKlotz, S., Cooper, K., Slay, H., & William, G. G. (2018). Astronomy in Denver: The polarization evolution of the luminous Type Ib SN 2012au. American Astronomical Society Meeting #232. Denver, CO: American Astronomical Society.
Hoffman, J. L., Fullard, A. G., & Nordsieck, K. H. (2018). Polarized Light Curves Illuminate Wind Geometries in Wolf-Rayet Binary Stars. American Astronomical Society Meeting #231. Washington, DC: American Astronomical Society .


  • Astronomer in Residence, Grand Canyon Conservancy
  • Physics & Astronomy Teacher of the Year, DU Society of Physics Students
  • DU Faculty Career Champion (nominated)
  • NSM Outstanding Faculty Service Award, DU Natural Sciences & Mathematics