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Faculty Profile

Robert Boyle

Professor of Physics and Astronomy (1981)

Contact Information

Tome Scientific Building Room 218


Major research interests involve infrared astronomy, studies of old stellar systems, and variable stars. His teaching activities include introductory physics, introductory astronomy, theoretical physics, and a variety of other topics in physics and astrophysics.


  • B.A., Princeton University, 1971
  • M.Phil., Yale University, 1976
  • Ph.D., 1981

2023-2024 Academic Year

Fall 2023

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

ASTR 109 Mysteries of the Solar System
This course explores questions that are as old as humanity; you will step into the shoes of ancient astronomers to ponder the workings of the night sky and Solar System. Why do the stars move the way they do? Why do some bright objects wander the night sky? Can we know what these objects are and where they came from? We will develop practical and critical thinking skills that are crucial to the art of discovery, focusing on the historical use of naked eye and telescopic observations, as well as the use of present day space probes and the electromagnetic spectrum. Our journey will take us to the planets and some fascinating moons. Three hours classroom, one two-hour laboratory a week. This course counts toward the astronomy minor.

Spring 2024

PHYS 142 Physics for the Life Sciences
Introductory, non-calculus physics, principally for life science and pre-med students. Topics include acoustics, optics, electricity, magnetism, and modern physics. Three one-hour lectures and one three-hour lab per week. Because of the similarity in course content, students will not receive graduation credit for both 132 and 142. Prerequisite: 141 or 131.

ASTR 208 Introductory Astrophysics
Cross-listed with Phys 208-01.

PHYS 208 Introductory Astrophysics
Cross-listed with ASTR 208-01.