Alexandros Papamatthaiou

Undergraduate Class of 2021 - Astrophysics
Senior Thesis


Alexandros was part of the Space Physics Group from September 2019 to May 2021, when he graduated cum laude with an A.B. in Astrophysics and a certificate in the Engineering Physics program.

While in the group, he worked on two independent projects, a Junior Paper, and a Senior Thesis. For his JP he modeled the ion optics of the Cassini Mass Spectrometer to determine methods that decrease scattering and beam divergence, which reduced its efficiency during its operation. For his thesis, he designed and manufactured the positioning system that will be used in the vacuum chamber of the Space Physics Lab for the calibration of SWAPI. The thesis also included software design on LabVIEW for the control of the positioning stages and manufacturing code for CNC machining of parts.

Both his projects earned As and distinctions, while his thesis received the Thesis Prize of the Engineering Physics program. His supervisors were David McComas and Jamie Rankin.

Apart from independent work, Alexandros also took part in many projects in the Space Physics Group, most significantly modeling the entire lab setup on CAD and providing detailed drawings and analysis that informed the construction of the lab. Alexandros also helped in projects related to assembly and testing of equipment, most notably building a small vacuum chamber for the storage of MCP detectors.

After graduation, Alexandros will be attending graduate school in ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse, France, where he will be studying Aerospace Engineering in preparation for a career in the field.