Professor (emerita)

My focus is in radio astronomy with primary interests in the areas of the pulsar radio-frequency emission problem, pulsars as probes of the interstellar medium, and feminist studies of science. I have published a series of papers describing a phenomenological model of pulsar radio emission, based on the study of the average and individual-pulse emission properties of pulsars. In 1999, my colleague Avinash Deshpande (of the Raman Research Institute in Bangalore) and I found a rotating (carousel) subbeam system in pulsar B0943+10, which has provided remarkable new insights into how pulsars generate their radio radiation. Together with my collaborators, I regularly make new pulsar observations using a number of different instruments. During 2001 and 2002 we conceived and started the Multi-Frequency, Multi-Observatory Pulsar Polarimetry Project (MFO) using instruments in Holland, Germany, England, India, Russian and Ukraine. I collaborate with astronomers in these and other countries and am also interested in science as it is connected to militarism, the position of the so-called "Third-World", and women's emancipation.

I earned my B.S. degree in Physics and Mathematics from Southern Methodist University and my Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Iowa, where I studied under Professor James A. Van Allen.


  • Toward an Empirical Theory of Pulsar Emission: VI. Geometry of the Conal Emission Region, Astrophys. J. 405, No. 1, Part 1, (1993), and The Astrophys. J. Suppl. Ser 85, (1993 March)
  • Microstructure-determined Pulsar Dispersion Measures and the Problem of Profile Alignment, with T.H. Hankins, V.A. Izvekova,
  • A.D. Kuz'min, V.M. Malofeev, and D.R. Stinebring, Astrophys. J. (Letters) 373, L17 (1991).
  • An Empirical Theory of Pulsar Emission, Texas/European Southern Observatory-CERN Conference on Relativistic Astrophysics, Brighton, U.K., December 1990.
Joanna Rankin

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Radio astronomy observation and theoretical studies of Pulsars


  • Ph.D. (Astrophysics), University of Iowa, 1970


  • 802.656.0051
Office Location:

Rm. E213 - Innovation Hall