Christopher O’Connor

Astronomy & Space Sciences


I am a PhD candidate working with Prof. Dong Lai on astrophysical dynamics. I am currently studying the dynamical and physical processes that affect planetary systems around evolved stars and white dwarfs.

I earned my bachelor’s degree in astrophysics at UCLA, where I studied planet formation and dynamics with Profs. Brad Hansen and Smadar Naoz. I also carried out a project in Prof. Andrea Ghez's research group, studying stellar variability in the vicinity of the supermassive black hole Sagittarius A* at the center of the Milky Way.

Since Fall 2020, I have represented the field of Astronomy and Space Sciences in the Cornell Graduate and Professional Student Assembly; I am also a voting member of the GPSA for the division of Physical Sciences.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing the clarinet and saxophone as well as board games and Dungeons & Dragons. I also like to participate in public outreach, like answering questions for Ask an Astronomer.

Research Focus

Advisor: Professor Dong Lai