Christopher O’Connor

Astronomy & Space Sciences


I am a Ph.D. candidate working with Prof. Dong Lai on astrophysical dynamics. I earned my bachelor's degree in 2018 from the University of California, Los Angeles. In the summer and fall of 2022, I was a Graduate Fellow at the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, California. I expect to graduate in the spring of 2024.

My current research focus is the evolution of planetary systems around evolved stars and white dwarfs. I am interested in a variety of topics in stellar and planetary astrophysics, such as the dynamics of star clusters, tidally interacting binaries, star-planet mergers, planetesimal reservoirs, and interstellar comets.

From 2020 to 2022, I served in the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly as Field Representative for Astronomy and Space Sciences and as a Voting Member for the Division of Physical Sciences. I am currently an organizing committee member for the annual Emerging Researchers in Exoplanet Science symposium.

In my spare time, I have played clarinet and saxophone with the Cornell University Wind Symphony and the Ithaca Concert Band. I also have sung in the Cornell University Chorale.

Research Focus

Advisor: Professor Dong Lai