Minnesota State University Moorhead Juan E. Cabanela, Ph.D.
Professor, Minnesota State University Moorhead

Minnesota State University Moorhead
Department of Physics and Astronomy
1104 Seventh Avenue South, Hagen 307B
Moorhead, MN 56563

telephone: (218) 477-2453
fax: (218) 477-2290
Public GPG/PGP Key: Located Here
WWW: http://www.cabanela.com/


Research and Teaching Appointments

  • Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Minnesota State University Moorhead (Moorhead, MN) – July 2013 to present
    • (As of Spring 2017) 20 Semesters teaching Introductory Astronomy which included a major overhaul of the lab activities used in the course and development of Lecture Tutorials for implementation in the classroom.
    • Developed Upper-Division Astrophysics track courses in Stellar Astrophysics and Galactic and Extragalactic Astrophysics and worked with Drs. Craig and Winkler on re-development of Observational Astronomy course. - Fall 2011 to present
    • 14 Semesters of Introductory Algebra-based or Calculus-based Physics lab instruction.
    • 8 Semesters of Advanced Lab instruction including development of a new statistics component and aiding in the development of a writing-intensive component.
    • 8 Semesters managing students preparing for their Senior Projects (teaching Introduction to Research and/or Senior Project)
    • 5 Semesters co-teaching Computational Physics course which included recent migration of the course on mathematical techniques useful in physics and their implementation using Python.
    • 4 Semesters teaching Upper-Division Electromagnetic Theory.
    • 1 Semester teaching 20th Century Physics (PHYS 202)
    • 1 Semester teaching Upper-Division Thermodynamics.
    • 1 Semester teaching Upper-Division Modern Physics course – Spring 2009
    • 2 Semesters teaching Life and Death in the Universe, an Honors Course on Astrobiology
  • Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Minnesota State University Moorhead (Moorhead, MN) – July 2009 to June 2013
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Minnesota State University Moorhead (Moorhead, MN) – August 2006 to July 2009
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Engineering Science, Saint Cloud State University (St. Cloud, MN) – August 2003 to July 2006
    • 3 Semesters teaching upper-division courses on “Applications in Theoretical Physics” (aka “Mathematical Physics” - Spring 2004/6) and “Galaxies and Cosmology” (Spring 2005)
    • 3 Semesters teaching middle-division “General Astronomy” (an astronomy course with pre-requisite of completion of introductory algebra-based physics sequence) (Fall 2003/4/5)
    • 1 Semester teaching Introductory Calculus-based Physics –Spring 2006
    • 4 Semesters teaching Introductory Algebra-based Physics – Fall 2003 through Spring 2005
    • 1 Semester teaching Introductory Astronomy– Fall 2005
  • Visiting Assistant Professor and Post-Doctoral Researcher, Dept. of Astronomy, Haverford College (Haverford, PA) – July 2001 to July 2003
    • 1 Semester assisting in upper-division courses on “Non-Optical Astronomy” and “Astrophysics II” (2003)
    • 1 Semester teaching upper-division course on “Cosmology and Extragalactic Astronomy” (2002)
    • 2 Semesters teaching "Astro 101: Astronomical Ideas" (Fall 2001 [assisting] and Fall 2002)
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Physics, Astronomy, & Engineering Science, Saint Cloud State University (St. Cloud, MN) – August 1999 to July 2001
    • 1 Semester teaching Honors Course on "Life and Death in the Universe" (Spring 2001)
    • 2 years full-time teaching Introductory Physics and Astronomy Lectures and Labs
  • Minnesota Automated Plate Scanner, U of Minnesota (Supervisor: Roberta Humphreys)
    • Project Scientist – March 1998 to July 1999
    • Research Assistant – 1994-98
  • Teaching Assistant, U of Minnesota Department of Astronomy
    • Introductory Astronomy Recitation – Spring 1996
    • Upper-Division Observing Lab Assistant – Spring 1994
    • Advanced Astronomy Laboratory – Fall 1993 and Fall 1994
    • Introductory Astronomy Lecturer – Summer 1993
    • Introductory Astronomy Laboratory – 1992-93 Academic Year
  • Instructor of Astronomy, Massachusetts Advanced Studies Program – Summer 1991
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Maria Mitchell Observatory (under Dr. Emilia Belserene) – 1990
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant, Iowa State University Dept. of Astronomy (under Dr. Lee Anne Willson) – 1989

Teaching Achievements

  • Complete re-working of Astronomy 102 and 104 labs for MSUM (with Dr. Craig) that resulted in completely new lab manuals and online exercises for the course. – 2007-8
  • Recipient of the "Miller Teacher Scholar Award" ($2500) that recognizes "excellence in the areas of teaching and service" among SCSU faculty. – 2005
  • Assembled and edited the Physics 231 and Astronomy 106 lab manuals, creating the first complete lab manuals for these SCSU courses. – 2003 and 2005
  • Received "Teacher Recognition Award" in March 2000 from SCSU Student Representative Assembly.
  • TOPDS, U of MN Doctoral Student Teaching Program (program now called Preparing Future Faculty)– 1995-96 Academic Year
  • Primary author of sections of the U of MN Astronomy Dept. introductory astronomy lab manual and author of the advanced astronomy lab manual – 1993-94.

Research-Related Experience

  • Development of the E-SPECROAD data reduction package for reduction of Hectospec Multi-fiber Spectra. – Summer 2008 through present
  • 5 nights total time on Hydra multi-fiber spectrometer at the CTIO 4.0-m telescope – April 2008
  • 17 nights total time on Hectospec multi-fiber spectrometer at the MMTO 6.5-m telescope on Mt. Hopkins – May 2007 through September 2009
  • 12 nights total wide-field imaging at the CTIO 1-m – April 2006 and October 2007 (rescheduled 2008)
  • 130 hours cumulative observing time at the 305 meter Arecibo Radio Observatory - August 1998 through November 2002.
  • 115 hours cumulative observing time at the U of Arizona Steward Observatory (formerly NRAO) 12 meter millimeter-wave telescope on Kitt Peak – February 2001 through July 2002
  • Development of the MAPS Catalog of the POSS I, a digital archive of astronomical data for 89 million objects in the night sky, and online database versions of that catalog – 2000-1
  • Attended the NRAO-NAIC Summer School on Single-Dish Astronomy at the Arecibo Radio Observatory -- June 2001.
  • 1 week observing run at Burrell Schmidt telescope, Kitt Peak National Observatory -1994
  • Systems Administration Experience: 6 years experience as administrator for ~20 computers in a mixed IRIX, SunOS, Solaris, and Linux computer environment
  • Programming/Data Analysis Experience using Fortran, C, Perl, PHP, MySQL, IDL, Unix shell script, AIPS, IRAF, PGPLOT, and ANALYZ packages (since 1992)

Community Contributions

  • Over 50 radio and television interviews with local (Fargo-Moorhead) media outlets (2005 to present)
  • Designed and maintain a blog to help astronomers who use Macintosh computers called urania.cabanela.com (2008- present).
  • Designed and Maintained the SCSU Astronomy Public Outreach WWW site called SCSUAstronomy.com (2005-6).
  • Textbook Reviewer for
  • Sat on Small Research Grants Committee of American Astronomical Society (January 2002)
  • Aided the American Astronomical Society Public Policy office in developing a Congressional Directory on the web to allow society members to contact their members of Congress. – 1997 to 2005
  • Topical physics and astronomy talks to Twin Cities, Stain Cloud, and Moorhead area schools (K-12) totaling about 40 talks (including several in Spanish to Spanish Immersion students) – (1992 - present).
  • Judge (2007-2010) for Western Minnesota Regional Science Fair and Judge (1999-2000, 2003-2004) and Exhibit Director (2005, 2006) for David Frank Grether Central Minnesota Regional Science Fair.
  • An organizer of the Student Research Colloquium at Saint Cloud State University which invites area college students to present their research in a professional environment. – 1999-2001, 2004-2005
  • Involved as physics presenter (including a presentation in Spanish) for the 10th and 11th Annual Horizons Conferences, encouraging young women to pursue science. The Horizons conference is presented by the Society of Women Engineers at SCSU– 2000-2001, 2005
  • Design and Maintenance of the initial U of MN Astronomy Dept. Public Outreach WWW site including interactive "Ask An Astronomer" feature.
  • Involved in ScienceWorks program to help reform the science curriculum in Minneapolis public schools – 1997-99.
  • Pre-production science advisor and member of advisory committee for the childrens' science series Madame Curious – 1998-99
  • Guest science advisor for the PBS childrens' science series Newton's Apple – 1993, 1998

Additional Personal Information

  • Citizenship: United States and Spain
  • Fluent in Spanish (Parents are Spanish)

Professional Associations

Publications and Research Grants List for Juan Cabanela

Publications in Refereed Journals

Invited Papers/Talks

Other Publications

Grants Awarded

  • Julena Steinheider Duncombe Grant (AAS Mini-Grants) "An Eclipse for Everyone: Engaging the Fargo-Moorhead Community in the Great American Eclipse" (with Sara Schultz), 2017, $5000
  • MNSCU Designed for Learning Grant "Reaching the Stars: A Learner-Centered Redesign of Introductory Astronomy" (with Dr. Matthew Craig), 2007-8, $24,858.93
  • SCSU University Assessment Committee Grant (with Aparna Gupta, Kevin Haglin, Maria Womack, and Sneh Kalia), 2005, $2000
  • SCSU Sponsored Programs Matching Grant (match to NSF Grant), 2005, $4500
  • PI  (with Roberta Humphreys at U Minnesota and Jeff Larsen at US Naval Academy), NSF Astronomy Division – Galactic Astronomy Program, “RUI: Collaborative Research to Map the Asymmetric Thick Disk”, 2005-8, $95,451 (Cabanela Group), $362,315 (Total Project Award)
  • Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium, 2003, ~$3000 toward summer stipend of student.
  • American Astronomical Society Small Research Grant, “The Spatial Distribution of LSBs in the Pisces-Perseus Supercluster”, 2003, $3224
  • Haverford College Louis Green Travel Fund, “Travel to Arecibo for Observations of Low Surface Brightness Galaxies”, 2002, $450
  • Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium, 2002, ~$3000 toward summer stipend of student.
  • Travel Grant to Attend Arecibo Single Dish Summer School, 2001, $700
  • Co-I, NASA Applied Information Systems Research Program Grant, “Enhancing and Archiving the APS Catalog of the POSS I”, 2000-2, $233,388 (Total Project Award)
  • SCSU Foundation Grant, “Internal Extinction from a Diameter-Limited Catalog”, 1999, $500

Students Supervised

  • Abel Tilahun, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2016
    • I worked with Abel on his senior project modeling an exoplanet in orbit around a binary star system using Python.
  • Beau Scheving, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2015
    • I worked with Beau on his senior project on "Remote Sensing of Bakken Oil Flares." His work was featured in the Alumni magazine for MSUM. He works at the University of North Dakota.
  • Meredith McLinn, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2014
    • I worked with Meredith on her senior project on "Source Extraction for Astronomical Images." Meredith was a double major in Physics and Computer Science and has now left for the greener pastures of the tech industry!
  • Aaron Peterson, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2013
    • I helped Aaron (along with Dr. Craig) with his senior project on determining the period of the variable star V440 Lacertae along with being his academic advisor his time as MSUM. Aaron is now a pilot for the United States Air Force.
  • Hollee Johnson, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2013
    • I helped Hollee (although she mostly worked with Dr. Craig) with her senior project on determining the period of the variable star EY UMa.
  • Shouvik Bhattacharya, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2013
    • I helped Shouvik (although he mostly worked with Dr. Craig) with his senior project on determining the period of an RR Lyra star in order to estimate its distance. Shouvik is a graduate student in Physics at the University of Strathclyde in the UK (as of Spring 2017).
  • Steven Ruckdaschel, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2012
    • I worked with Steve on his senior project on using the "Microsoft Kinnect as an Instructional Tool in Physics." Steve was a double major in Physics and Computer Science and has now left for the greener pastures of the tech industry!
  • Heather Cegla, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2010
    • I helped Heather complete her senior project of developing a pipeline for processing VYSOS 5 optical imaging data from the University of Hawai'i VYSOS 5 camera. Heather was also a recipient of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Spring of 2009. Heather Cegla subsequently obtained her Ph.D. from Queen's University in Belfast in Fall 2013.
  • Murshid Saqlain, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2012
    • Murshid spent the summer of 2009 reducing data from the Hectospec multifiber spectrometer on the MMT 6.5-meter using my External SPECROAD pipeline. He also finished some of the final spectral data reductions for data from the Hydra multifiber spectrometer at the CTIO 4-meter. He was basically just trying to understand how multifiber spectroscopy works and how the data is reduced.
  • Devin Kasper, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2011
    • Devin spent the summer of 2008 being a "line monkey" (his words) reducing data from the Hydra multifiber spectrometer at the CTIO 4-meter. His specific goal was to help develop the pipeline for reducing the stellar spectra to determine velocities of stars in the thick disk as related to our Thick Disk Asymmetry project. He went on to work at the National Solar Observatory REU the following summer and transferred to the University of Wisconsin Madison.
  • Fenner Colson, Minnesota State University Moorhead, Class of 2010
    • Fenner spent the summer of 2007 developing some perl scripts for use in data mining the SDSS data for stellar streams and for comparison to our MAPS Catalog and other data related to the Asymmetric Thick Disk project..
  • Joshua Swanson, St. Cloud State University, Class of 2008 and Laura Broaded, Butler University, Class of 2007 (I had partial supervision of Laura, who was a U of Minnesota REU Summer student)
    • Josh and Laura spent the summer of 2006 reducing images taken at the Y4KCam on the 1.0-m at Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile. Specifically he worked with me to develop the software for reducing almost 1000 raw 16 megapixel images in four bandpasses (U, B, V, and R) and turning it into photometric information on all the stars in those images. Josh completed a post-doc in particle physics at Brown University and now works for Intel.
  • Wendy Bennett, Drake University, Class of 2006
    • Wendy was a volunteer researcher for me in the summer of 2004.  She spent one day a week working on extending Supreet Sidhu’s research by modifying her code to work the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 2. She has since obtained a Masters in astronomy at Iowa State University.
  • Supreet Sidhu, Swarthmore College, Class of 2005
    • Supreet spent the summer of 2003 examining the problem of determining the distribution of dust in external galaxies. This was done by obtaining isophotal magnitudes and diameters for ~90,000 galaxies in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (Data Release 1). Analysis is ongoing, but her analysis of these observations showed the feasibility of a statistical determination of the level of internal extinction in external galaxies. She is now a college instructor at Washington College.
  • Megan B. Roscioli (now Megan B. Gralla), Haverford College, Class of 2005
    • Megan performed supervised research investigating the nature of the ISM of Low Surface Brightness galaxies and their distribution relative to Large-Scale Structure. This included making millimeter observations with the Kitt Peak 12 meter of several LSBs and radio observations at the Arecibo 305 meter. She reduced the data from these projects to publication quality. Megan was also a recipient of the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in Spring of 2003. She moved on to become a graduate student in astrophysics at the University of Chicago, getting her Ph.D. in 2011. She is currently a Post-Doc at the University of Arizona.
  • Martin Mudd, Williams College, Class of 2004
    • Marty was a summer student at Haverford in the summer of 2002. His research project focused on attempting to isolate stars tidally striped from globular clusters from foreground stars in the same field using the Minnesota Automated Plate Scanner Catalog of the POSS I. The project was not a “success” in that we discovered the color resolution of photographic plates was not sufficient to isolate the streams, but he did an excellent job in testing the concept. Marty went on to do Teach for America and current runs the Adventure Unschool in Kentucky.