Stefi Baum joined the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in July 2004 as a professor and the director of the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science. Her research focuses on activity in galaxies and its relation to galaxy and cluster evolution; image processing and statistical algorithms applied to functional magnetic resonance brain imaging for mental health diagnosis; and science and engineering education.
The intracluster medium is a hot gas that fills the space between galaxies, where heating and cooling processes vie for dominance, super-massive black holes grow at the centers of galaxies, and an uneasy equilibrium is maintained. During her fellowship, Baum will conduct a multi-wavelength observational study of nearby clusters of galaxies to map the spatial, thermal, and temporal evolution of the baryonic matter; determine the system energetics; and identify the dominant feedback loops at play in these complex systems.
Baum earned a BA in physics with honors from Harvard University and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Maryland. She is also active in education and public outreach and committed to the engagement of youth and the public in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Baum joined RIT after 12 years at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, followed by one and a half years serving as an American Institute of Physics State Department Science Fellow, where she worked to promote agricultural biotechnology in developed and developing countries.