I am currently an Associate Professor of Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin . I am primarily interested in a field called 'Galactic Archaeology' which is aimed at exploring the Milky Way Galaxy (its formation, evolution and structure). I use stellar spectroscopy as my primary astrophysical tool. I am also a memeber/CoI of the newly created Wootten Center for Astrophysical Plasma Properties (CAPP) at UT Austin .

My main interest is in using multi-object spectroscopic surveys to better understand the chemo-dynamic properties of the Milky Way (Galactic Archaeology). My expertise is in high- to low-resolution spectroscopy and stellar chemical abundance patterns. For a full CV click here

Before UT, I completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Simons Junior Research Fellow at Columbia University in the city of New York between 2016-18. Before that, I completed my Ph.D. in 2016 at the Institute of Astronomy in Cambridge UK , under a Marshall Scholarship , and King’s College Cambridge Studentship. I primarily worked with Prof. Gerry Gilmore and Prof. Paula Jofre (now at UDP, Chile) . My Ph.D. dissertation was entitled "Dissecting the Milky Way with Spectroscopic Studies” can be found here. Before my time at the University of Cambridge, I received my B.S. in Astrophysics (with minors in Mathematics and African Studies) from Ohio University in 2013.

The Galactic Archaeology Lab @ UT

Right now, now matter where you are or what you’re doing, we are all collectively flying through the our Galaxy, the Milky Way, at more than 492,000 mph. The Sun and our Earth is apart of this vast Milky Way system of stars, dust, and gas. Despite centuries of studying our Galaxy, basic question about how it formed, evolved, assembled, and how its structure are still unresolved to this day! These questions form the basis for a field in Astrophysics called “Galactic Archaeology”

I am a Galactic Archaeologist and my research group, The Galactic Archaeology Lab @ UT focuses on the nature of the Milky Way Galaxy including its structure, dynamics, formation, evolution, and chemical makeup. My group’s primary tools for this work include observational facilities (both in space and on the ground) to study the chemical fingerprints of the building blocks of the Galaxy; stars. We also work heavily with large spectroscopic surveys that chemically fingerprint 100,000s of stars as well the space-based Gaia Mission which maps the position and motions for more than 1 BILLION stars in the sky. The results of our studies have push humanities collective knowledge of our Cosmic Home! To hear talks by our group members and read recent press about our exciting results, click here!

Join the Group ; Become a Galactic Archaeologist! Hiring PhD students in 2023-24 cycle
For more information about the research of my group, the Galactic Archaeology Lab @ UT, please click here!

To see the current (and past) members of the Galactic Archaeology Lab @ UT, please click here!

If you are a prospective student or postdoc interested in working in the Galactic Archaeology Lab @ UT, send me an email so we can chat further about potential projects!! I will be hiring a new PhD student in 2023.


I am currently on teaching sabbatical for Fall 2023 In the past, I have taught several courses including :
  • AST352K Stellar Astronomy, UT Austin, Fall 22, Spring 23 (undergrad level)
  • AST383D Stellar Structure and Evolution, UT Austin , Fall 19, Spring 20 (grad level)
  • AST301 Introduction to Astronomy (QR flag), UT Austin, Fall 21, Spring 19,20
  • Galactic Dynamics, Part II Astrophysics, Cambridge, Spring 2013-15
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution, Part II Astrophysics, Cambridge, Fall 2014-15
  • General Physics Year 1 and 2, Athens, Ohio, 2012 - 2013
  • Middle School Mathematics/Science, Cape Coast, Ghana, Fall 2010
  • For more information click here

    Outreach Efforts

    Outside of teaching I am deeply interested in mentoring students and have mentored several. I am also greatly interested in mentoring and changing the way that we encourage underrepresented minorities in the STEM fields. I am actively involved in outreach of many kinds at the Institute of Astronomy and have been involved in outreach efforts in various places around the world. I have helped organize and run ‘public observing’ and given a series of outreach talks to middle school, high school, undergraduate as well as the general public.

    In the summer of 2013, I developed, coordinated and ran a 2-day workshop on ‘Demystifying the Science Fair‘ geared for middle/high school students in Athens, Ohio that was designed encourage them to compete at the highest levels of science competition for their age group.

    Since coming to Cambridge, I have been active in public observing and most recently have giving a talk entitled “Galactic Archaeology and the Life of the Young Astronomer” to a group of Year 11 (15 year old) students that were a part of the Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic (BAME) summer program at Cambridge.

    I am extremely interested in and work towards encouraging more students from underrepresent groups to participate in the sciences and in particular astronomy. So if you are working on projects to get more minorities involved in astronomy/science, I would love to hear your ideas and get involved.

    I am also the former chair of the King’s College Graduate Society (KCGS).

    For more information click here

    Contact Information

    Keith Hawkins
    Department of Astronomy
    The University of Texas at Austin
    2515 Speedway Blvd. Stop C1400
    Austin, TX 78712

    Email: keithhawkins [at]
    Office: Physics Mathematics Astronomy (PMA) Building Room 16.228
    Phone: 512-471-1309