Glenn Ciolek

Lecturer, Physics, Applied Physics & Astronomy

Glenn Ciolek is a theoretical and computational astrophysicist. His research focus has been in the theory of the interstellar medium, particularly astrophysical plasmas and magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) and their applications to star-forming molecular clouds and cores. This has included multifluid non-ideal MHD simulations (including dust grains) of shock waves in interstellar clouds, and numerical studies of gravitational collapse and fragmentation of protostellar cores. Working with his Rensselaer colleague, Prof. Wayne Roberge, he has developed a Riemann-Godunov numerical code using adaptive mesh refinement to investigate the time-dependent formation and nonlinear evolution of MHD shocks in weakly-ionized interstellar clouds. Some calculations have also employed parallel processing and the use of the supercomputers at the Center for Computational Innovations (CCI) at Rensselaer. Glenn is also interested in the astrobiological applications of his research, and has been associated with the New York Center for Astrobiology (NYCA) at Rensselaer.


Ph.D. (Physics) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.S. (Physics) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Bachelor of Science in Physics Wayne State University

Research Focus
  • Theoretical and computational astrophysics
  • Physics of the interstellar medium
  • Star formation
  • Astrophysical plasmas and magnetohydrodynamics
  • Multifluid shock wave in interstellar clouds
  • Dynamics of charged and neutral interstellar dust grains
  • Chemical processes in molecular clouds and star-forming regions
Select Works
  • Molecular Line Emission from Multifluid Shock Waves. I. Numerical Methods and Benchmark Tests, by G. E. Ciolek & W. G. Roberge, 2013, The Astrophysical Journal, 768, 78
  • Hydromagnetic Waves in Weakly Ionized Media. I. Basic Theory, and Application to Interstellar Molecular Clouds, by T. Ch. Mouschovias, G. E. Ciolek, & S. A. Morton, 2011, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 415, 1751
  • Magnetic Field, Stars and Planetary Systems Formation, by W. G. Roberge and G. E. Ciolek, 2011, Encyclopedia of Astrobiology, ed. M. Gargaud (Berlin: Springer-Verlag), 946
  • Nonlinear Evolution of Gravitational Fragmentation Regulated by Magnetic Fields and Ambipolar Diffusion, by S. Basu, G. E. Ciolek, and J. Wurster, 2009, New Astronomy, 14, 221
  • Driven Waves in a Multifluid Plasma, by W. G. Roberge and G. E. Ciolek, 2007, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 382, 717
  • Formation and Collapse of Nonaxisymmetric Protostellar Cores in Planar Magnetic Interstellar Clouds: Formulation of the Problem and Linear Analysis, by G. E. Ciolek and S. Basu, 2006, The Astrophysical Journal, 652, 442
  • Multifluid, Magnetohydrodynamic Shock Waves with Grain Dynamics II. Dust and the Critical Speed for C Shocks, by G. E. Ciolek, W. G. Roberge, and T. Ch. Mouschovias, 2004, The Astrophysical Journal, 610, 781
  • Time-Dependent, Multifluid, Magnetohydrodynamic Shock Waves with Grain Dynamics I. Formulation and Numerical Tests, by G. E. Ciolek and W. G. Roberge, 2002, The Astrophysical Journal, 567, 947