Staff Directory


Bryan E. Penprase, PhD

Dean of Faculty

Professor of Science

Phone: 949-480-4184

Fax: 949-480-4263


Academic Administration - Undergraduate Program Staff

Faculty - Full-Time


  • Ph. D., Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of Chicago
  • M.S., Applied Physics, Stanford University
  • B.S., Physics, Stanford University

Positions Held

  • 2017-present - Dean of Faculty and Professor of Science, Soka University of America 
  • 2014-2017 - Director, Yale-NUS College Centre for Teaching and Learning and Professor of Science
  • 2010-2014 - Frank P. Brackett Professor of Astronomy, Pomona College
  • 2008-2010 - Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College
  • 1999-2008 - Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College
  • 1993-1999 - Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Pomona College
  • 1992-1993 - Postdoctoral Fellow, California Institute of Technology 

Research Interests

  • Liberal Arts and Higher Education in Asia
  • Archaeoastronomy and Cultural Astronomy
  • Quasar Absorption Line Spectroscopy
  • Type Ia Supernovae

Selected Papers, Publications, Presentations, & Exhibits

Books and Book Chapters:

  • Penprase, B.E., “The New Age of STEM Teaching and Learning: How Active Learning, Online Technologies and Research Have Transformed STEM Education,” monograph under contract with Stylus Publishing; to appear in 2018.
  • Penprase, B.E., “Undergraduate Education at NUS and the founding of Yale-NUS College,” two chapters in the forthcoming sequel to “The New Flagship University,” edited by John Douglass, UC Berkeley CSHE.
  • Penprase, B.E., “The Zwicky Transient Facility,” article in AccessScience McGraw-Hill Education Encyclopedia of Science & Technology.
  • Penprase, B.E., "New liberal arts and science institutions in India and Singapore – the role of STEM education," contributed article to be published in The Liberal Arts and Science Education Dialogue across Continents: Experiences and Perspectives from the USA, Europe, and Asia, Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Penprase, B.E., "Calendars and Timekeeping Around the World" an entry in the Encyclopaedia of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine in Non-Western Cultures, H. Selin, editor, Springer Verlag, NY.
  • Penprase, B.E., “The Power of Stars – How Celestial Observations Have Shaped Civilization,” published by Springer Verlag. First edition released October 2010; second edition released May 2017.
  • Garsten, B., Patke, R., Bailyn, C., Jacobs, J., Chuan, K., and Penprase, B., "Yale-NUS College - A New Community of Learning" - published April 2013.

Publications in Refereed Journals
(undergraduate student authors indicated with an asterisk):

  • Swiggum, J.K., McLaughlin, M., Lorimer, D., Kaplan, D.L., Lynch, R., Gentile, P., Rosen, R., Heatherly, S.A., Ray, P.S., Bogdanov, S., Barlow, B.N., Hegedus, R.J., Vasquez Soto, A., Clancy, P., Kondratiev, V.I., Stovall, K., Istrate, A., and Penprase, B., 2017, “A Multi Frequency Study of PSR J1400-1431, Astrophysical Journal, submitted.
  • Penprase, B.E., Sargent, W., Martinez, I.T.*, and Beeler, D.*, 2017, “A Possible Redshift Dependence of the D/H Ratio Observed in QSO/DLA Absorption Line Systems,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in preparation.
  • Marsh, F.M.*, Simon, A.A., Penprase, B.E., Mettig, H., and Hahn, G. 2016, "The Relationship of Feature Drift Rate to Zonal Wind Velocity in the Northern Equatorial Belt of Jupiter I: Synoptic Scale Features," submitted to Icarus.
  • Phillips, M.M., Simon, Joshua D., Madore, Barry F.; Penprase, B. E., (several co-authors omitted for space), 2013, “On the Source of the Dust Extinction in Type Ia Supernovae and the Discovery of Anomalously Strong Na I Absorption,” Astrophysical Journal, 779, 38.
  • Sternberg, A., Gal-Yam, A., Simon, J. D., Leonard, D. C., Quimby, R. M., Phillips, M. M., Morrell, N., Thompson, I. B., Ivans, I., Marshall, J. L., Filippenko, A. V., Marcy, G. W., Bloom, J. S., Patat, F., Foley, R. J., Yong, D., Penprase, B. E., Beeler, D. J.*, Allende Prieto, C., Stringfellow, G. S., 2011, “Circumstellar Material in Type Ia Supernovae via Sodium Absorption Features,” Science, 333, 856.
  • Thomas, C.A., Trilling, D.E., Emery, J.P., Mueller, M., Hora, J.L., Benner, L.A.M., Bhattacharya, B., Bottke, W.F., Chesley, S., Delbo, M., Fazio, G., Harris, A.W., Mainzer, A., Mommert, M., Morbidelli, A., Penprase, B., Smith, H.A., Spahr, T.B., and Stansberry, J.A., 2011, "ExploreNEOs. V. Average Albedo by Taxonomic Complex in the Near-Earth Asteroid Population," Astronomical Journal, 142, 85.
  • Penprase, B.E., Prochaska, J.X., Sargent, W.L.W, Toro Martinez, I.*, and Beeler, D.*, 2010, “Keck ESI Observations of Metal-Poor Damped Lyman-alpha Systems,” Ap. J. 721, 1.

Courses Taught at SUA

  • Planning to offer "Archaeoastronomy and World Cosmology" and Learning Cluster on cultural astronomy at Soka University of America. 

Selected Honors & Awards

  •  NUS Teaching Academy, Horizon Scanning Committee, Chair, 2017.
  •  NUS University Teaching Excellence Committee, Member, 2016-2017.
  •  Teaching Academy, National University of Singapore, Member, 2016-2017.
  •  Postgraduate Certificate, International Faculty Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Leadership Program, University of British Columbia, 2016
  •  American Council on Education Fellow, Yale University, 2012-2013
  •  NASA Keck Telescope Time Allocation Committee, member, 2010-2013
  •  Hubble Space Telescope Time Allocation Committee, member, 2011-2013
  •  Downing Fellow, Downing College, Cambridge University, UK, 2005.
  •  Visiting Scientist, Harvard SAO, 2004.
  •  ASEE JPL faculty fellow, 1997 and 1998


  • Teagle Foundation, 2015 - "Globalizing the Liberal Arts" - B. Penprase and C. Bailyn, Co-PIs, $50,000.
  • NSF PIRE 2015 - “GROWTH - The Global Relay of Observatories for Watching Transients Happen,” M. Kasliwal, PI, (Caltech), with co-I's T. Prince (Caltech), L.Yan (Caltech); with B. Penprase, R. Quimby (SDSU), P. Wozniak (LANL); S. Vogel (U. Maryland), and D. Kaplan (U. Wilwaukee). $4,500,000
  • NSF PIRE 2014 - “The Zwicky Transient Facility,” S. Kulkarni, PI, (Caltech) with Co-PI’s T. Prince, B. Penprase, R. Dekany, and G.Helou, $8,980,000
  • Fletcher Jones Foundation 2013 - “Digital Immersive Theatre,” M. Ebert, B. Penprase, P. Choi, and D. Tanenbaum, $1,000,000.
  • NSF MRI 2010 - “CCAO-Cam: A Remote-Access, Dual-Band (Optical/NIR) Adaptive Optics System for the Table Mountain 1-meter telescope,” P. Choi, PI; with R. Erik Spjut (HMC), S. Severson (SSU), and B. Penprase, $637,000
  • Fletcher Jones Foundation 2001 - "Astronomical Computing Initiative at Pomona College”, B. Penprase (PI), $567,000.