Headshot of Richard Plotkin

Richard Plotkin

Physics Graduate Admissions and Recruitment Director, Assistant Professor He/him/his


Plotkin's research uses multiwavelength space- and ground-based observations to study a wide variety of phenomena related to accreting black holes, over the full range of black hole masses and accretion rates. Main research goals include better understanding the structure/geometry of accretion flows and outflows in different accretion regimes, in order to more effectively use radiation as a probe of Galactic and extragalactic black hole populations, and to learn how black holes may impact their large-scale environments.

Research interests

  • Quiescent black hole X-ray binaries
  • Low-luminosity active galactic nuclei
  • Quasars
  • Relativistic jets
  • X-ray populations in nearby galaxies

Courses taught

  • AST 310 - Astrophysical Measurements
  • AST 410 - Astrophysics


      • Ph.D. in Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, 2009
      • M.S. in Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, 2004
      • B.S. in Astronomy and Physics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 2003

      Selected publications

      • Multiwavelength Scrutiny of X-ray Sources in Dwarf Galaxies: ULXs versus AGNs. E. Thygesen, R. M. Plotkin, R. Soria, A. E. Reines, J. E. Greene, G. E. Anderson, V. F. Baldassare, M. G. Owens, R. T. Urquhart, E. Gallo, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, J. D. Paul, and A. P. Rollings (2023), MNRAS, 519, 5848
      • The Flickering Radio Jet From the Quiescent Black Hole X-ray Binary A0620-00. D. L. dePolo, R. M. Plotkin, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, J. Strader, T. J. Maccarone, T. N. O'Doherty, L. Chomiuk, and E. Gallo (2022), MNRAS, 516, 4640
      • Photometry+: Development of a Photometric Pipeline for the Great Basin Observatory Robotic Telescope. A. R. Tudor, R. M. Plotkin, A. W. Shaw, *M. Neill, Dascalu, S. (2022), A&C, 40, 100627
      • Connecting Low- and High-redshift Weak Emission-line Quasars via Hubble Space Telescope Spectroscopy of Lyα Emission. J. D. Paul, R. M. Plotkin, O. Shemmer, S. F. Anderson, W. N. Brandt, X. Fan, E. Gallo, B. Luo, Q. Ni, G. T. Richards, D. P. Schneider, J. Wu, and W. Yi (2022), ApJ, 929, 78
      • Towards a Larger Sample of Radio Jets From Quiescent Black Hole X-ray Binaries. R. M. Plotkin, A. Bahramian, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, M. T. Reynolds, P. Atri, T. J. Maccarone, A. W. Shaw, and P. Gandhi (2021), MNRAS, 503, 3784
      • Observations of the Disk/Jet Coupling of MAXI J1820+070 during Its Descent to Quiescence. A. W. Shaw, R. M. Plotkin, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, J. Homan, E. Gallo, D. M. Russell, J. A. Tomsick, P. Kaaret, S. Corbel, M. Espinasse, and J. Bright (2021), ApJ, 907, 34
      • Potential Kick Velocity Distribution of Black Hole X-ray Binaries and Implications for Natal Kicks. P. Atri, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, A. Bahramian, R. M. Plotkin, P. G. Jonker, G. Nelemans, T. J. Maccarone, G. R. Sivakoff, A. T. Deller, S. Chaty, M. A. P. Torres, S. Horiuchi, J. McCallum, T. Natusch, C. J. Phillips, J. Stevens, and S. Weston (2019), MNRAS, 489, 3116
      • Radio Variability from a Quiescent Stellar-mass Black Hole Jet. R. M. Plotkin, J. C. A. Miller-Jones, L. Chomiuk, J. Strader, S. Bruzewski, A. Bundas, K. R. Smith, and J. J. Ruan (2019), ApJ, 874, 13

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