Introducing Abhijeet Borkar

I did my B.Sc. from the Fergusson College, Pune, India in 2010, M.Sc. in Physics from the University of Pune, Pune, India, with specialization in Quantum Field Theory. After that I went for PhD at the University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany, as a part of the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) at the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR). I recently completed my PhD in November 2015, and will soon start my first post-doc position at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague, Czech Republic.

For my masters’ thesis, I worked on the modelling of the gas distribution in local dwarf galaxies and relating the star formation rates with the gas distribution. My PhD thesis was about the observations of the Galactic Center at 3 mm to study the flaring activity of Sagittarius A*, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, and the study of the stellar SiO maser sources in the central parsec region. My research interests include the Galactic Center region, the AGN-host relation & Evolution, Cosmic Archaeology, Formation of first objects in the Universe (First Stars, First Galaxies, First Black Holes), Radio Interferometry etc.

I am also fairly active in public outreach in India, where I have been involved with the Astro Club at the Fergusson College, Pune. Currently involved in activities related to improving science awareness among students in parts of rural India.

You can find me on Twitter at @borkarabhijeet

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Introducing Rachael Livermore

Rachael is a British astronomer working at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Bachelors in Mathematics and Physics with Astrophysics from King’s College London, her Masters in Astronomy from the University of Sussex and her PhD from Durham University before moving to Texas as a postdoc.
Her research focuses on the most distant galaxies, trying to understand how the earliest galaxies formed and the effect they had on the reionization of the Universe in its first billion years. Her specialty is gravitational lensing, whereby galaxies that are seen behind massive galaxy clusters appear magnified.
She is also heavily involved in public outreach as the co-founder and host of Astronomy on Tap ATX (@AoTATX), a series of free astronomy talks held in a bar in Austin. She will be hosting this event for the last time this week.
Rachael usually tweets as @rhaegal.

Introducing Tom Kitching

I am a Lecturer in Astrophysics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at UCL in London, currently working on dark energy and gravitational lensing. I graduated from Imperial College London (@imperialcollege) and then did a PhD at the University of Edinburgh (@EdinburghUni) on the topic of weak gravitational lensing. After that I was a postdoc at Oxford University (@OxfordAstro) before returning to Edinburgh for further postdoctoral work. I was then awarded a Royal Astronomical Society (@RoyalAstroSoc) postdoctoral Fellowship, and then a Royal Society (@royalsociety) University Research Fellowship. I moved to University College London (@ucl) in 2012 to start my lectureship in Astrophysics at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory (@MSSLSpaceLab).

My research is focused on trying to figure out what dark energy is, using a method called “gravitational lensing”. Gravitational lensing is the effect where light from distance galaxies is curved by the warping of spacetime caused by dark matter. Even though we don’t know what dark matter is, we do know that it lenses galaxy light, like a magnifying glass lenses light on Earth. We can use gravitational lensing to measure the distances to galaxies and also how dark matter has clustered together over time – both are measurements that dark energy strongly influences, hence by measuring gravitational lensing we can learn about dark energy.

My main activities at the current time focus on preparing for a new space mission called Euclid (@EC_Euclid)  Euclid is the next cosmology space mission, due for launch in 2020. It will survey three quarters of the extragalactic sky over three quarters the age of the Universe. I am one of the Science Leads in this mission, and help to coordinate the weak lensing activities.

I am also involved in several public outreach activities. For example I contribute and edit two blogs https://msslastro.wordpress.com and https://lateuniverse.wordpress.com . In 2015 I contributed to a MSSL poetry collaboration, and was a co-author of the anthology of scientific poems that was published (Laboratorio, Sidekick books 2015 ), who’s launch party will be this week!

You can find me rest of the year on Twitter @tom_kitching

Introducing Arianna Piccialli

I am Italian, originally from the sunny city of Naples. I graduated in physics at the University on Naples Federico II (@UninaIT). After my graduation, I moved to Germany to start a PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in the small town of Katlenburg-Lindau. After my PhD, I moved to The Netherlands for a two years postdoc at the European Space Agency. Since October 2012 I am living in Paris, first as a postdoc at LATMOS (@latmos_ipsl). I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at the Observatory of Paris (@Obs_Paris) within the EuroVenus project (@EuroVenus_EU).

My main scientific interest is the investigation of planetary atmospheres, in particular of Venus and Mars. During my graduate studies at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, and later as postdoctoral research fellow at the European Space Agency (ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands) and at Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales (LATMOS, Gyancourt, France), I analysed data from several remote sensing experiments on board the European orbiters Mars Express (PFS, OMEGA) and Venus Express (VIRTIS, VeRa, VMC, SPICAV). My current research project focuses on characterizing the composition and the thermal structure of Venus’ upper atmosphere using ALMA and NOEMA/IRAM ground-based observations.

I am also involved in several public outreach activities. Whenever possible I take part in public science events such as “open doors” days, Science fairs, public outreach seminars. I am involved in the educational project of the Observatory of Paris which offers the possibility to sponsor school classes, I have mostly worked with children of 10-13 years old. I am also a volunteer translator for Planet Press, an educational project of the European Geophysical Union, and for social media communications from the European Southern Observatory.

You can find me  rest of the year on Twitter at @apic79