Geological Sciences
Center for Teaching and Innovation
Nicolaus Copernicus Hall

Dr. Larsen is a proud graduate of CCSU, having been a member of the first class of students in the university Honors Program. She currently serves as Director of the Honors Program. In May 2023 she received the prestigious designation as a CSU Professor.

Areas of Expertise

Dr. Larsen specializes in issues related to science and society, including the history of women in science, misconceptions and pseudoscience, and the uses and misuses of science in pop culture. She is heavily involved in science outreach and serves on the Board of Advisors  and as co-Leader of the Solar Observing Section of the American Association of Variable Star Observers. She is also the editor of the Astronomical League's Reflector magazine.

Publications, Research & Presentations


Humanity and the Sun in Popular Media. McFarland Publishers, under contract. Anticipated publication date: 2024.

Science, Technology and Magic in The Witcher: A Medievalist Spin on Modern Monsters. McFarland Publishers, 2023.

Particle Panic! How Popular Media and Popularized Science Feed Public Fears of Particle Accelerator Experiments. Springer, 2019. Invited project. Reviewed in Cosmos [].

The Women Who Popularized Geology in the 19th Century. Springer, 2017. Invited project.

The Mythological Dimensions of Neil Gaiman. eds. Anthony Burdge, Jessica Burke, and Kristine Larsen. Kitsune Press, 2012. Recipient of the Gold Medal for Science Fiction/Fantasy in the 2012 Florida Publishing Association Awards.

The Mythological Dimensions of Doctor Who. eds. Anthony Burdge, Jessica Burke, and Kristine Larsen. Kitsune Press, 2010.

Cosmology 101. Greenwood Press, 2007. Invited project.

Stephen Hawking: A Biography. Greenwood Press, 2005. Portuguese translation (Luiz Roberto Mendez Gonçalves, A Girafa Press), 2006. Updated paperback edition (Prometheus Books), 2007. Chinese edition (English with Chinese annotations, China Renmin University Press), 2008. French translation (Michel Cassé, Dunod), 2009. Marathi translation (Jaico), 2015.

Recent Book Chapters:

““Forgot Even the Stones”: Stone Monuments and Imperfect Cultural and Personal Memories in The Lord of the Rings.” In Cities and Strongholds in Middle-earth, ed. Cami Agan. Mythopoeic Press, in press, to appear 2023.

“A Different Sort of Monster: Science Fiction Casts a Spotlight on the Problematic Power Dynamics of Graduate Programs.” In Academia and Higher Learning in Popular Culture, ed. Marcus K. Harmes and Richard Scully. Palgrave Macmillan, 153-72, 2023.

“Clean, Limitless Energy or Catastrophic Chaos: Particle Physics as an Instrument of Destruction in the Syfy Universe.” In Attack of the New B Movies: Essays on SYFY Original Films, ed. Justin Wigard and Mitch Ploskonka. McFarland Publishers, 229-248, 2023.

“‘Books! Best Weapons in the World’: How Libraries Save the World in Popular Culture.” In Lore-masters and Libraries in Fantasy and Science Fiction: a Gedenkschrift for David Oberhelman, eds. Jason Fisher and Janet Brennan Croft. Mythopoeic Press, 43-54, 2022.

“Nothing Lasts Forever – Debunking 101.” In Outside In Wants to Believe, ed. Stacey Smith. ATB Publishing, 398-400, 2021.

“The Mad Scientist Wore Prada: Female Frankensteins in the Universe of Doctor Who.” In Doctor Who and Science, eds. Marcus K. Harmes and Lindy A. Orthia, McFarland Publishers, 124-41, 2021.

“‘Soft Light’: Super Powers and Supercolliders.” In Outside In Trusts No One, ed. Robert Smith. ATB Publishing, 120-2, 2020.


Recent Journal Articles:

Thomas Hockey and Kristine Larsen, “Total Solar Eclipses in the Modern Popular Novel.” Journal of Science & Popular Culture. Accepted for publication. To appear 2023.

““Following the Star”: Eärendil, Númenor, and the Star of Bethlehem.” Journal of Tolkien Research 16(3), article 3, 2023. Available at  

“Arda Re-made: Finding Meaning in a Pandemic Through the Works of Tolkien, Sapkowski, and Straczynski.” Messengers From the Stars: On Science Fiction and Fantasy No. 6, 32 pp., 2022. Available at

“Moons, Maths, and Middle-earth: Misconceptions about Tolkien’s Scientific and Mathematical Prowess.” Journal of Tolkien Research 15(1), article 2, 2022. Available at  

“Tar-Meneldur and the Royal Sorontil Observatory.” Lembas Extra: Journal of the Dutch Tolkien Society, 2022 edition: 151-73, 2022.

“Seeing Double: Tolkien and the Indo-European Divine Twins.” Mythlore 40(2): 139-69, 2022.

Kristine Larsen, Christina Robinson, Jason Melnyk, Jennifer Nicoletti, Amy Gagnon, Kelly McLaughlin, and Mina Hussaini. "Finding Our Voice: Highly Flexible ED for the HyFlex World." To Improve the Academy: A Journal of Educational Development 40(2): 205-33, 2021.

“Can You Tell Me How to Get, How to Get to Watling Street? [The Milky Way in the Works of Tolkien]” Mallorn: Journal of the Tolkien Society No. 62: 41-4, 2021.

“Virtual Astrolabes and Virtual Pizza.” New Chaucer Studies: Pedagogy and Profession 2(2): 68-71, 2021.

“Signum Draco Magno Scilicet, or, Eärendel and the Dragon: Heavenly Warfare in Medieval European and Tolkienian Annals.” Journal of Tolkien Research 12(2), article 4, 2021. Available at

"Heroine or Damsel in Distress: Traversing the Parallel Universes of Timeline’s Kate Erickson.” MOSF Journal of Science Fiction. 5(1): 26-39, 2021. Available at

“Transits, Spots, and Eclipses: The Sun’s Unique Role in Outreach. Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers 49(1): 1-5, 2021. Available at

“Embracing the Affective Domain in a Course in Science and Pseudoscience.” Systematic Reflections 1: 36-43, 2021.

Janet Brennan Croft and Kristine Larsen, "Introduction to Special issue: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Works of Joss Whedon." Journal of Tolkien Research: 10(1), article 1, 2020. Available at

“‘They’re something nightmares are from’: The Notion Club Papers and The Cabin in the Woods.Journal of Tolkien Research 10(1), article 5, 2020.

"Deconstructing Durin's Day: Science, Scientific Fan Fiction, and the Fan-Scholar." Journal of Tolkien Research 8(1), article 3, 2019. Available at . Winner of the Tolkien Society Best Paper Award, 2020.

Recent Published Conference Proceedings:

“Arda Remade (and Remade, and Remade…); or, Entropy, Einstein’s Blackboard, and R=ceα(t-t0 )∕3 [sinβ/2 (t-t0)]2∕3, being an Exploration of Overlapping Themes in the Venn Diagram of the History of Middle-earth, the History of Middle-earth, and the History of Twentieth Century Cosmology.” Journal of Tolkien Research 16(2), article 2, 2023. Available at .

“Medieval Automata and J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin.” Journal of Tolkien Research 16(1), article 6, 2023. Available at .

“‘Doing My Best to Watch Phenomenal Stars’: Variable Star Astronomy in Thomas Hardy’s Two on a Tower (1882).” Proceedings of the 111th Annual Meeting of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, ed. Joyce A. Guzik, 99-105, 2022. Available at .

“‘I am Primarily a Scientific Philologist’: J.R.R. Tolkien and the Science/Technology Divide.” Journal of Tolkien Research 15(2), article 3, 2022. Available at .

“Half-Elven and Half-Orphans: The Choices and Consequences of ‘Crossing-Over.’” Journal of Tolkien Research 15(1), article 6, 2022. Available at .

“Nailing Jell-O to the Wall: Canonicity in Middle-earth.” Journal of Tolkien Research 15(1), article 5, 2022. Available at .

“‘Pearls’ of Pearl: Medieval Appropriations in Tolkien’s Mythology.” Journal of Tolkien Research 14(2), article 9, 2022. Available at .

“‘O’er the Moon, Below the Daylight’: Tolkien’s Blue Bee, Pliny, and the Kalevala.” Journal of Tolkien Research 14(2), article 4, 2022. Available at .

“‘Ore-ganisms’: The Myth and Meaning of ‘Living Rock’ in Middle-earth.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(2), article 6, 2021. Available at .

“Smaug’s Hoard, Durin’s Bane, and Agricola’s De Re Metallica: Cautionary Tales Against Mining in Tolkien’s Legendarium and the Classical Tradition.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(2), article 5, 2021. Available at .

“Who Maketh Morwinyon, and Menelmacar, and Remmirath, and the Inner Parts of the South (Where the Stars are Strange): Tolkien’s Astronomical Choices and the Books of Job and Amos.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(2), article 4, 2021. Available at .

“Carry on My Wayward Sonne (and Moon): Common Cosmological Quirks in the Norse Fimbul-winter and Tolkien’s Early Legendarium.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(1), article 4, 2021. Available at .

“The Walls of the World and the Voyages of the Evening Star: The Byzantine Borders of Tolkien’s Biblical/Classical/Medieval/Geocentric/Heliocentric Complicated Cosmology.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(1), article 3, 2021. Available at .

“Cynewulf, Copernicus, and Conjunctions: The Problems of Cytherean Motions in Tolkien’s Cosmology.” Journal of Tolkien Research 13(1), article 2, 2021. Available at .

““I Am No Man”: Éowyn and Game of Thrones’ Lyanna Mormont.” Journal of Tolkien Research 12(1), article 5, 2021. Available at

“Númenor and the ‘Devouring Wave’: Literary, Historical, and Psychological Sources for Tolkien’s Self-Described ‘Atlantis Complex’.” Journal of Tolkien Research 11(2), article 5, 2021. Available at

“Adapting Tolkien Beyond Arda, or, How to Navigate the Political Minefield of the International Astronomical Union in Order to Name Features on Titan, Pluto, and Charon after Middle-earth.” In Adapting Tolkien, Proceedings of the Tolkien Society Seminar 2020, ed. Will Sherwood, The Tolkien Society, 127-46, 2021.

“Identification and Analysis of Pulsating Red Giants Misclassified by ASAS and ASAS-SN.”  Proceedings of the 39th Annual Symposium of the Society for Astronomical Sciences, eds. Robert K Buchheim et al. Society for Astronomical Sciences, 193-8, 2020.

“Ladies of the Forest: Melian and Mielikki.” Journal of Tolkien Research 9(1), article 6, 2020. Available at


Awards & Grants
  • G.R. Wright Service Award, Astronomical League, 2021.
  • Best Article Award, Tolkien Society, 2020.
  • Director's Award, American Association of Variable Star Observers, 2019.
  • The Mary Collins Outstanding Service to the CCSU Center for Teaching and Faculty Development award, 2018.
  • CCSU School of Engineering, Science, and Technology Distinguished Alumni Award, 2017.
  • Connecticut Science Center’s Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award, 2014.
  • Ralph Donald Award for Outstanding Conference Paper, Mid-Atlantic Popular Culture/American Culture Association, 2014.
  • Walter Scott Houston Award of the Northeast Region of the Astronomical League, 2013.
  • Distinguished Alumni Service Award, CCSU Alumni Association, 2007.
  • Excellence in Teaching Award, CCSU, 2001.
Memberships & Affiliations

American Association of Variable Star Observers

Springfield Telescope Makers

Courses Taught

AST 113 The Cosmos

AST 209 Stellar and Galactic Astronomy

AST 278 The Night Sky

AST 418 Astrophysics

HON 120 Science and Society

SCI 211 Elementary and Physical Science