Reintroducing Jonathan Fortney

Jonathan Fortney is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, University of California, Santa Cruz, and the director of their Other Worlds Laboratory ( He received his PhD in Planetary Sciences in 2004 from the University of Arizona and was a postdoc for 4 years at NASA Ames Research Center before starting at UC Santa Cruz in 2008.

Jonathan’s major fields of interest are the atmospheres, interiors, spectra, composition, and evolution of planets, both inside and outside the solar system.  He focuses on modeling and theory of these objects, with targets that range from terrestrial planets to brown dwarfs.  He was a member of the Kepler Science Team during its prime mission and is currently a member of the Cassini Science Team.

Introducing Steven Rieder

Steven Rieder (@rieder) is a postdoctoral researcher at RIKEN Advanced Institute for Computational Science in Kobe, Japan. He is a computational astronomer, investigating the interaction of objects on scales from planetary dust rings to the cosmic web. His simulation tool-of-choice for this is AMUSE : a Python interface to a range of community codes.
Born in the Netherlands, Steven did his MSc at Utrecht University and his PhD at Leiden University, on a combined astrophysics/computation science project. Parallel to his PhD, he was the editor of Dutch astronomy youth magazine “Universum” and a board member of the Dutch Youth Association for Astronomy “JWG”. He is an amateur observer, currently without access to a telescope. In no specific order, he is fond of photography, board games, cycling, exploring Japan, guitars and bunnies.

Introducing Abigail Stevens

Abigail Stevens is a PhD candidate at the Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. She researches X-ray spectral variability from compact objects (stellar-mass black holes and neutron stars) in order to understand the extreme physics in strong gravitational fields, and is very excited for NICER to be launched in a few months. Abbie is also a “pythonomer” and is involved in the open science community. Previously, Abbie did her MSc at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and her BA at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, USA. In addition to her astronomy research, she enjoys tea, interior design, memes, reading blogs, watching tv, and exploring new places.

Introducing John Bochanski

John Bochanski is an Assistant Profesor of Physics at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.  His astronomy research is focused on using cool stars (both dwarfs and giants) to understand the structure and dynamics of the Milky Way.  John has primarily used survey data, including the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, 2MASS, UKIDSS and others.  In addition to his survey work, John helped build and commission FIRE, an IR spectrograph on the Magellan telescopes.  John also periodically writes for Sky & Telescope.