Introducing Gourav Khullar

Gourav Khullar (@isskywalker, Pronouns: he/him) is a PhD Candidate at the University of Chicago, affiliated with the Dept. of Astronomy and Astrophysics, and the Kavli Institute of Cosmological Physics. An Indian national, he has been in Chicago since 2015, having moved to the US from the University of Cambridge with a masters degree in Astrophysics, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi with a bachelors degree in Engineering Physics.
Gourav’s research focuses on the astrophysics of member galaxies of high-redshift galaxy clusters, which he studies via tools like optical-infrared spectroscopy and strong gravitational lensing. Gourav is part of the South Pole Telescope (SPT) Clusters collaboration, and is also affiliated with the Dark Energy Survey (DES). Counting himself as an observer and an analyst, Gourav is a frequent user of the Magellan Telescopes and the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory (CTIO) in Chile for his research. His past work as an undergraduate and masters student includes an analysis of host galaxy properties in DES-discovered active galactic nuclei (AGN), understanding chemical enrichment in galaxy environments via simulations and observations, spectroscopic studies of Type Ib supernovae, and building stellar speckle interferometric apparatus in a laboratory that mimic adaptive optics systems on telescopes.
Outside astrophysics research, Gourav has also been a part of the Astrobites collaboration since 2015, both as a science communication writer-editor and an education researcher. Gourav also works on issues of social justice, having co-founded initiatives like the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Journal Club (DEIJC) at UChicago, a platform that helps early-career astrophysicists create an equitable and inclusive local community through peer education. He is an organizer and officer with Graduate Students United – UChicago’s graduate worker union – which has been fighting for labor rights for graduate members of the UChicago community. On a light day, you would find Gourav reading non-fiction books, listening to Punjabi music, or at a movie theatre checking out the latest superhero flick!

Introducing David Wilson

David Wilson (@astrodave2) is a postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin, having recently moved there after completing his PhD at the University of Warwick. His research focuses on observing M dwarf and white dwarf stars using Hubble and other space telescopes. He uses those observations to explore the effects of stellar activity on extrasolar planets and to study the remnants of planetary systems around dead stars. In particular, David is a member of the Mega-Muscles collaboration, which is using a large number of telescopes to produce an archive of pan-chromatic M dwarf spectra.

Along with his research, David is also interested in science communication and outreach. During his PhD he was a writer for the Astrobites collaboration and regularly visited local schools to give talks and present planetarium shows. When not working, David can usually be found reading sci-fi books or adding to his space-themed Lego collection.

Introducing Emily Hunt

Emily Hunt (@emilydoesastro) is a final year undergraduate at the University of Bath in the UK. She is approaching the end of a summer internship, with the aim of improving the knowledge of dust extinction to variable stars in the Magellanic clouds by using parallax data from the Gaia satellite. The past couple of months have been an adventure in learning about Bayesian statistics, variable stars, and doing large-scale data analysis in Python. Emily is also passionate about equality and diversity in science, being involved in running a Network of Women in Physics at her university and being an advocate for LGBT+ people in STEM.

In her spare time, Emily does live sound engineering and plays guitar. She grew up in Coventry in the middle of the UK, and developed her passion for space after a family move nearer to the countryside with a darker night sky. She’s also a science fiction buff, and has an arduino called Lovelace.

Introducing Teddy Kareta

Theodore (“Teddy”) Kareta (@teddykareta) is a 1st year graduate student at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. Teddy studies the evolution of small bodies (e.g. comets, asteroids) with telescopic and spacecraft data, such as from the NASA IRTF, the ESA’s Rosetta mission, and (in a few months) NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. Specifically, he is interested in studying the surfaces of small bodies to understand something about their history – and how they will continue to change into the future. Before moving to the desert of southern Arizona, he completed a BS in Physics and Astronomy at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Outside of work, Teddy enjoys biking, outreach, and watching bad movies with his friends.

Introducing Josephine Peters

Josephine Peters (@josieapeters) is a PhD student at the University of Oxford. She researches galaxy evolution with data from radio interferometers; the Very Large Array (VLA) and the Low-Frequency Array (LOFAR). She takes samples of hundreds of galaxies and looks at how their luminosity changes over the history of the Universe. Before her PhD, Josie did an MSc at the University of Manchester and a BSc in Maths at King’s College London. It was outreach in the form of a photography exhibition that inspired Josie to go into astronomy.

To share her love of astronomy (and hopefully inspire others as she was inspired), Josie presents videos on astronomy news, explains topics such as spacetime and quasars, and interviews other astronomers.

When other aspects of science grab her curiosity, Josie co-presents a new podcast called A Piece of String (@StringPodcast), that brings together comedians and scientific minds to answer the biggest of all questions, ever.

Beyond science, Josie spends her time drawing silly comics (@artartyeahart), performing improvised comedy with The Oxford Imps and singing loudly.

Introducing Adina Feinstein

Hi! My name is Adina Feinstein, and I just finished my undergraduate degree in astrophysics at Tufts University and will continue my education next year at U of Chicago. My research experiences range from galaxy evolution to correcting for gravitational lensing to aging stars and characterizing exoplanets. I hope to use my time on Astrotweeps to talk about my research, the graduate school application process, and offer advice to those who wish to pursue astronomy in the future. Outside of academia, I’m a bake-aholic, love to crochet, and enjoy writing the occasional short story!


Introducing Mary Beth Laychak

Mary Beth Laychak is the Outreach Program Manager at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope on the Big Island of Hawaii.  Mary Beth has an undergraduate degree in astronomy and astrophysics from Penn State University and a masters degree in educational technology from San Diego State.  Her passions include astronomy, sharing astronomy with the public and astronomy based crafts.