Introducing Amy Barr

This week, May 26-31, 2014, features Amy Barr. Amy  is a planetary scientist who is interested in how the moons of gas giant planets accrete, evolve during their first billion years, and form the strange geology on their surfaces.  She has worked extensively on the geophysics of Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, and Enceladus. She is an alumna, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Summer Science Program, a summer enrichment program in astronomy for gifted high school students.  She holds a BS in planetary science from Caltech and a PhD in Astrophysics & Planetary Science from the University of Colorado.  After five years as a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO, Amy joined the faculty of Brown University where she is an assistant professor.  In their off hours, Amy and her husband Vladan (a condensed matter physicist) enjoy skiing, doing more science, travel, and spending time on the New England coast.  The rest of the year, she tweets as @amytoast.

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Introducing Robert Fisher

This week features Robert Fisher. Bob is a computational astrophysicist primarily interested in the two endpoints in the lives of stars — stellar birth and death. He is keenly interested in the origin of a certain class of stellar explosions resulting from white dwarf stars, which astronomers have used to measure distances across the vast reaches of the cosmos — yet still do not fully understand. In his research, he seeks to understand the origins of these tremendous stellar explosions by simulating them on some of the world’s largest computers. As an assistant professor of physics at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, he mentors an active research group of future computational astrophysicists and scientists, and engages the broader university student population in astronomy and physics education. He also serves on a variety of committees, at the national level, the state level, and the university-level, which seek to advance high-performance computing research across disciplines. Some time in between all of this, you’re likely to find him in the kitchen cooking Persian or Italian food with his wife, Pamela, an art historian. After this week, you’ll find him back at @fisherastro on Twitter.

Introducing Alex Hagen

Alex Hagen was born and raised in Sacramento, California. He is currently a graduate student at Pennsylvania State University, where he works on galaxies. Mostly faint, fuzzy, far-away ones. He is a part of the HETDEX project which will measure the evolution of dark energy in the early universe. His wife Lea is also a graduate student in Astronomy & Astrophysics and she works with the Swift Satellite. Alex and Lea enjoy cooking, local food, and are also active in the State College Presbyterian Church. Alex is also a big fan of coffee, webcomics, and sports.

The other 51 weeks of the year, you can find Alex at @astrophysicalex

Introducing Rodolfo Montez Jr.

A native Texan, Rodolfo Montez Jr. (who goes by “Rudy”) studied undergraduate Physics and Astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin before moving to the snow-ridden northeast where he pursued graduate studies at the University of Rochester and the Rochester Institute of Technology. At RIT he was awarded the first PhD granted by the institute in Astrophysical Sciences and Technology. He currently resides at the home of country music, Nashville, TN, where he is a post-doctoral fellow at Vanderbilt University. Rudy divides his time among mentoring students in the Fisk-Vanderbilt Bridge Program and studying X-ray emission from evolved stars. In particular, he co-leads an international collaboration that uses the space-based Chandra X-ray Observatory to survey X-ray emission from dying sun-like stars that have form beautiful planetary nebulae (ChanPlaNS). Rudy sporadically tweets at @rudy_phd.