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 Haley Gomez

This week, March 10-15, 2014,  features Haley Gomez. Haley is an astrophysicist and Senior Lecturer at Cardiff University and is interested in space dust.  As well as trying to find out where cosmic dust is formed, she teaches undergraduates at all levels of their degree and currently supervises 2 PhD students, so her typical day ranges from marking, writing exams, attending committees, giving advice, to traveling for conference talks or using scribbles on envelopes to try and solve problems.   She mostly works on data from the Herschel Space Observatory, an award winning infrared space telescope which can see further and with greater clarity than any other telescope like it.  As Head of Public Engagement in her Department, she is an advocate for outreach and engagement and runs outreach projects for primary children (Universe in the Classroom) and secondary children (Inspiring Science Education).   She also loves dresses.

The other 51 weeks of the year, you can find Haley at @astrofairy.