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Having a room like the planetarium to teach in creates a wonderful learning environment. The students come in excited and ready to learn. The room helps to foster that.

Kent Montgomery, Ph.D.

Department Head & Associate Professor

He doesn’t just study the sky. He flies in it. A certified pilot and trained physicist, Kent Montgomery brings his love of the universe to Commerce, Texas. He’s known for his archeoastronomy course where students learn how ancient civilizations followed the moon and the stars. At the end of the course, he journeys with them to Chaco Canyon where artificial light is void and the night shines with brilliance. But Montgomery doesn’t stop there. He’s also taken A&M-Commerce to Europe. Where his next adventure will be, we’ll just have to wait and see.

A Conversation with Dr. Montgomery

What makes A&M-Commerce unique?

“In the Department of Physics and Astronomy, upper-level undergraduate students are encouraged to do research which in many schools is only reserved for graduate students.”

Why would you encourage a student to attend A&M-Commerce?

“I feel that A&M-Commerce is an excellent place to start your educational career. The school is just the right size so that the faculty still directly interact with the undergraduates and are truly interested in their success but not too small that you only have limited programs.”

Tell us about a project you are working on or have completed.

“I built my own airplane which has been flying since 2011. It took me 8 years to complete but it was my favorite and most challenging project.”

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Image of a blue plane.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D., Astronomy, Boston University, 1995
  • MS, Astronomy, San Diego State University, 1990
  • BS, Mathematics and Physics, Montana State University, 1987

Academic Positions

  • Department Head, Physics and Astronomy, Texas A&M University-Commerce, 2018-present
  • Interim Department Head, Physics and Astronomy, 2017-2018
  • Planetarium Director and Professional Staff, A&M-Commerce, 2005-2017
  • Planetarium Director and Professor, Young Harris College, 1995-2005
  • Instructor, Boston University, 1990-1994
  • Instructor, Boston University, 1990-1994
  • High School Teacher, Terry High School, 1987-1988

Research Interests

  • Exoplanet transits
  • Asteroid lightcurves

Awards and Honors

  • Teaching Excellence Award, A&M-Commerce, 2011
  • Teaching Excellence Award, A&M-Commerce, 2010
  • Paul W. Barrus award for Teaching Excellence, A&M-Commerce, 2010

Selected Publications

  • Fuller, K., Sanchez, C., and Montgomery, K., “Rotational Periods and Lightcurves of Four Asteroids,” 2019, Minor Planet Bul., 46-1, 1-2.
  • Baxter, N., Vent, A., Montgomery, K., Davis, C., Cantu, S. and Lyons, V., “Lightcurves and Rotational Periods of Five Main Belt Asteroids,” 2019, Minor Planet Bul., 46-2, 111-114.
  • Cantu, S., Kozdon, J., Montgomery, K. and Lyons, V., “Lightcurves of Asteroids 800 Kressmania, 3494 Purple Mountain and 25891 2000 WK9,”
    2016, Minor Planet Bul., 43-3, 210-212.
  • Kozdon, J., Cantu, S. and Montgomery, K., “Lightcurves of Asteroids 891 Gunhild, and 1614 Goldschmidt,” 2016, Minor Planet Bul., 43-2, 171.

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