Introducing Larry Nittler

 

Larry Nittler is a staff scientist in the Dept. of Terrestrial Magnetism of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. He is a cosmochemist and planetary scientist whose research interests span stellar evolution, nucleosynthesis, interstellar and interplanetary dust, meteorites, and the formation and evolution of planets. He earned a BA in Physics from Cornell University in 1991 and a PhD in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis in 1996. He has been on the Carnegie staff since 2001, following a postdoc at the Carnegie and two years as a staff scientist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center. His laboratory research focuses on isotopic and mineralogical properties of microscopic extraterrestrial materials including presolar grains in meteorites, interplanetary dust particles and spacecraft-returned samples, including solar wind and comet Wild 2 samples returned by the Genesis and Stardust missions, respectively. He also performs spacecraft-based remote-sensing geochemical research on planetary bodies. He led the analysis of X-ray fluorescence data for the Near Earth Asteroid Rendezvous mission, which orbited asteroid Eros in 2000-2001, and for the MESSENGER mission, which orbited Mercury from 2011-2015. He also served as Deputy Principle Investigator for MESSENGER. He is on the Science Team for the ESA-JAXA BepiColombo Mercury mission, to be launched in 2018, and is a Participating Scientist on JAXA’s Hayabusa2 asteroid sample return mission. He received the Nier prize of the Meteoritical Society in 2001 and became a Fellow of the same society in 2010. Asteroid 5992 Nittler is named in his honor. In addition to his scientific research, Larry is a jazz pianist and composer who performs frequently with his soul-jazz group Dr. Nittler’s Elastic Soultastic Planet. He lives in Washington DC with his wife, physicist Rhonda Stroud, and their daughter and two cats.

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Introducing Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor is a Canadian postdoctoral researcher working as a Gemini Science Fellow at Gemini Observatory’s Northern Operations Center in Hilo, Hawaii. He completed his degree at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in July 2016, and has been working at Gemini since June 2017. His research revolves around using low-mass stellar systems like globular clusters, ultra-compact dwarfs, and dwarf galaxies to constrain the formation histories of their giant host galaxies in the nearby universe. His favourite colours are optical and near-infrared. He tweets @taylored4astro.

Introducing Matt Russo

Matt Russo is an astrophysicist and musician who specializes in protoplanetary disks and astronomical data sonification. After completing degrees in Jazz guitar and astrophysics from the University of Toronto he became a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Since May of 2017 he has been combining his two passions with SYSTEM Sounds, an outreach project which converts the rhythms and harmony of astronomy into music, sound, and animations. He is currently developing tactile-audio exhibits and planetarium shows to help make astronomy more accessible to the visually impaired. You can see and hear his space music at system-sounds.com and learn more about him at astromattrusso.com. He tweets @astromattrusso. Matt Russo is an astrophysicist and musician who specializes in protoplanetary disks and astronomical data sonification. After completing degrees in Jazz guitar and astrophysics from the University of Toronto he became a postdoctoral fellow at the Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics. Since May of 2017 he has been combining his two passions with SYSTEM Sounds, an outreach project which converts the rhythms and harmony of astronomy into music, sound, and animations. He is currently developing tactile-audio exhibits and planetarium shows to help make astronomy more accessible to the visually impaired. You can see and hear his space music at system-sounds.com and learn more about him at astromattrusso.com. He tweets @astromattrusso.

Introducing Helen Maynard-Casely

Helen Maynard-Casely is a Planetary Scientist based at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) where she uses the neutrons and synchrotron x-rays to investigate the materials that make up our solar system. She has a PhD in high-pressure physics from the University of Edinburgh and has been lucky enough to have collected data in facilities all over the world, blowing up a few diamonds along the way. Currently she’s trying to characterise all the ‘minerals’ that would form on Europa and Titan. Always keen to tell anyone who’ll listen about planetary science, she tweets @Helen_E_MC.

Introducing Mario Jurić

Mario Jurić (@mjuric) is a professor of Astronomy at the University of Washington (@uwastronomy) & eScience Institute Fellow (at @uwescience). He’s interested in astronomical ‘Big Data’: developing and applying data science methods that let astrophysicists use large data sets to answer research questions. Two experiments he’s involved with are the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST), and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). Loves Python, prefers tabs, and thinks bash scripting is fun

Introducing Héctor Vives-Arias

Héctor Vives-Arias (@DarkSapiens) obtained his PhD in Physics at the University of Valencia, Spain, using gravitational lenses to study both the structure of quasars and the distribution of dark matter subhaloes. He is currently a postdoc at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), where he works with ALMA observations of the active galactic nucleus in NGC 1068 to try to understand the structure and kinematics of the dust and molecular gas surrounding its center.
In his last year as an undergrad he got a summer grant at the IAC, where he analyzed the distribution and velocity of the gas in several nearby active galactic nuclei by working with near infrared integral field spectroscopy data from the SINFONI instrument at the VLT. For his Master’s thesis in Valencia, however, he switched to gravitational lens systems in which quasars were multiply imaged by foreground galaxies. Continuing this work on this PhD thesis, he used observations of the Einstein Cross in the optical and mid infrared (from the CanariCam instrument at the Gran Telescopio Canarias) to determine the size and temperature profile of the accretion disk of the quasar by studying the gravitational microlensing in the system, and also to estimate the amount of substructure in the dark matter halo of the lens galaxy that would produce the non-microlensed flux ratios between the quasar images. He also stayed for about a year at the University of Manchester, where he learned to work with radio interferometry data. There, he processed VLA observations of another lens system in order to measure the flux ratios between the multiple images, and to also determine the size of the radio emitting region.
He is currently working on a study of a dozen quadruply lensed systems to estimate the abundance of dark matter subhaloes from the flux ratios between the quasar images in observations of their narrow line regions, radio cores, and dusty tori, while also analyzing ALMA data of nearby active galactic nuclei to study those dusty tori directly in his recently started postdoc at the IAC.
Despite his research focus on active galaxies and dark matter, his scientific interests are much broader than that, and he always tries to keep learning as much as he can about many different fields. He has a passion for science communication that has helped him remain motivated in the low moments of academic life, and he regularly enjoys explaining science on Twitter, blog articles, radio programs, podcasts, and public talks. Other hobbies include archery, drawing, and 3D animation and rendering.

Introducing Quan-Zhi Ye

Quan-Zhi Ye obtained his PhD in astronomy at the University of Western Ontario. He is currently a postdoc at Caltech/IPAC working on solar system observations with the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). His research interests include small bodies of solar system such as asteroids, comets and meteoroids.

Besides his day(night)-time work, he enjoys doing stargazing and playing string music. As a Chinese native he also regularly engage in public outreach in Chinese languages. He has translated two books into Chinese and has given dozens of lectures and presentation across the country.