Winona State University Professor Dr. Carl Ferkinhoff has been awarded a National Science Foundation CAREER grant. Ferkinhoff is a professor in the physics department at WSU, and is an astronomer working to understand how the history of galaxies in the early universe have evolved to produce the universe we see today.



Ferkinhoff says, “More specifically I study the gas, dust and stars in these early galaxies using emission lines that are visible at sub-millimeter wavelengths. I also have interests in astronomical instrumentation, building the instruments and hardware that let us make the observations of theses galaxies.


Much of this work is done with collaborators at Cornell University, Georgia Southern University and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Germany.” Ferkinhoff’s project “Astronomical Research, Instrumentation, and Education with Undergraduates via ZINGRS” has been awarded nearly $820,000 dollars through the CAREER program. The Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) program at the National Science Foundation provides the most prestigious awards to the support of early career-faculty. The funds will go to support Ferkinhoff’s study of galaxies in the early universe and the building of instruments and tools to enable the study.


The grant will also allow the development of a family science night at Kids First. Students will participate in observing trips to Chile, reducing data, reporting results at conferences, building instruments, and leading the family science night. Ferkinhoff is passionate about preparing excellent future science teachers, using student centered methods of teaching, and providing equitable learning opportunities for all of his students.


Each year, Winona State University and its faculty and staff are awarded funding from public and private sources, including the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Bush Foundation, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Minnesota Department of Health and Human Services, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA).  This funding supports faculty and staff teaching, research, professional development, collaboration, and outreach, and provides students with research, internship, work, travel, and a broad range of other educational and enrichment opportunities.


The department of Physics at Winona State University offers several degrees in Physics, General Engineering, and Teaching. WSU Physics graduates are well prepared for further education in graduate school or to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and teaching.  Many are working in the regional manufacturing industry where they are engineering solutions to global 21st century challenges.