Jonathan Fortney is a Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He focuses on understanding the atmospheres, interiors, and composition of planets in our solar system and “exoplanets” around other stars. He was on the science team for NASA’s Kepler and Cassini Missions, and is currently on the Juno science team. He is the director of the Other Worlds Laboratory (OWL) at UC Santa Cruz, which hosts an exoplanet summer program each year. Jonathan’s research focuses on theory and modeling efforts, from giant planets down to terrestrial-mass worlds. He is on the Steering Committee for the Astro2020 Decadal Survey in Astronomy and Astrophysics. Before coming to UC Santa Cruz, Jonathan did a postdoc at NASA Ames, PhD at University of Arizona, and BS at Iowa State University.
Szilárd Gyalay (@sgyalay) is currently a PhD student in the University of California, Santa Cruz’s Earth and Planetary Science department where he studies Saturn’s mid-sized icy moons. Using geophysical techniques, he infers which moons may have oceans beneath their ice shells.
Before coming to Boise State, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington’s Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington DC and before that, at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt MD.
My research focuses primarily on orbital dynamics and transit observations of extrasolar planets, planets outside of our solar system. I also do some planetary science field work, notably on Death Valley’s Racetrack Playa and on terrestrial and Martian dust devils.
When I’m not chasing my daughter around the house, I enjoy running around Boise and learning classical guitar.
Beth Johnson is a graduate student in geology at San Jose State University in California. She is also the social media coordinator for the SETI Institute, where she shares not only the news, outreach, and photographs of the Institute’s work but curates a wide variety of astronomy, space, and planetary news from other sources. Her master’s research may be grounded in submarine volcanoes here on Earth, but she hopes to apply what she learns to cryovolcanoes in our solar system, particularly at Europa and Enceladus. Prior to her graduate studies, she completed her undergraduate work, also at SJSU, in physics with an emphasis in astrophysics. She worked on several research projects at the university, including looking for earthquake precursor signals in MgO and analyzing galactic evolution processes. She spent the summer of 2013 in an internship via CAMPARE (Cal Poly Pomona) at the SETI Institute, where she worked with Dr. Peter Jenniskens on NASA’s Cameras for Allsky Meteor Surveillance project (CAMS). She analyzed the data for numerous meteor tracks and helped find several new meteor showers. She presented posters on her research at both winter and summer AAS conferences in 2014. In her personal life, she is the wife of a Canadian network engineer/hockey player, the mother of an almost-teenager, and the guardian of five cats. She is passionate about science communication and education and can be found on many social media sites as planetarypan. She volunteers with the local Astronomy on Tap group to publicize and help host their monthly events. She recently joined the Weekly Space Hangout Crew and will be a regular on the show starting in October. She has ambitious plans to launch her own Twitch stream later this year.
I am Rachael Alexandroff, an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in observational extragalactic astronomy with a joint appointment at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics and the Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics.
My research interests focus primarily on extragalactic astronomy. In particular, I am interested in exploringfeedback from actively accreting supermassive black holes (quasars) using a variety of multi-wavelength data in the radio to the X-ray. I previously identified the largest catalog of optically-selected obscured quasars in the early Universe and have been using this catalog to study how quasars effect their surroundings from the local environment to the entire host galaxy. In particular, I search for observational signatures of quasar feedback to help constrain models of galaxy evolution. You can read more here.
In particular, I love to solve interesting problems using a combination of large datasets and targeted observations to elucidate the underlying physics. By constructing models and digging out fundamental correlations we can come to understand the physical principles that govern the myriad disparate observations we are trying to analyze.
I obtained my graduate degree on July 18, 2017 from Johns Hopkins University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy working for Prof. Nadia Zakamska. Previously, I obtained a bachelor of arts in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University.
I am also very passionate about astronomy education and outreach and am president emeritus of the Physics and Astronomy Graduate Student Outreach group at Johns Hopkins University. I have spoken to groups of 500+ audience members at Astronomy on Tap Toronto and given talks at local libraries, high schools and community centres.
Kathryn Neugent is a PhD Candidate in Astronomy at the University of Washington working with Dr. Emily Levesque. She has additionally been working as a research associate with Phil Massey at Lowell Observatory for the past 10 years. Alongside Emily and Phil, Kathryn studies massive stars (stars greater than 10 solar masses) and their evolution in the Local Group Galaxies (primarily M31, M33, and the Magellanic Clouds). Her current projects include identifying and characterizing binary Red Supergiants and their B-type star companions, understanding the evolution of Yellow Supergiants as both pre-and post- Red Supergiant objects, and directly determining the masses of Wolf-Rayet + O star binary systems. As an observational astronomer she travels the world observing at telescopes such as Gemini in Hawaii and Las Campanas in Chile. While not observing she enjoys backpacking, photography, and hanging out with her boyfriend, cat and corgi in sunny Seattle. You can stalk her more at her website: kathrynneugent.com.
I am Marcel Pawlowski (@8minutesold), a Schwarzschild Fellow at the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam. I moved back to Germany about half a year ago from the University of California Irvine, where I was a Hubble Fellow. Before that, I was a postdoc at Case Western Reserve University and got my PhD from the University of Bonn in 2013. Most of my research revolves around dwarf and satellite galaxies, especially those in the Local Group. I study the phase-space distributions of systems of satellite galaxies and use them to test cosmological models. This has established the planes of satellite galaxies problem, a mismatch between the flattened, kinematically coherent observed satellite systems, and the typically more random satellite distributions found in cosmological simulations. In addition, I have a keen interest in other small scale problems of cosmology, alternatives to the Lambda Cold Dark Matter model, and philosophy of science.
Besides my research and spending time with my family, I very much enjoy visiting museums and exhibitions of contemporary art and photography, especially documentary and humanist photography. I am also active as a street photographer myself, documenting my impressions of the daily life in the different places my job has brought me to.