Introducing Szilárd Gyalay

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.

Szilárd earned his bachelor’s at UCLA majoring in astrophysics and minoring in geophysics and planetary physics. There he researched the bulk infrared properties of the moon. In his spare time he rock climbs or plays video games and board games.

Introducing Beth Johnson

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.

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 Erin Ryan

Erin Ryan is a research scientist at University of Maryland working at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. She is one of the few telescope jockeys in the solar system exploration division at Goddard content with using telescopes both on the ground and in space. She currently studies comets and main belt-ish asteroids in an effort to understand the reservoirs of water in our solar system, and how water might have been transported into the inner solar system by migrations of small bodies over time.

Erin received her bachelor’s degree in astronomy from the University of Arizona in 2002, and then went to the Spitzer Science Center for three years before starting her PhD at the University of Minnesota where she graduated in 2011. Erin has been at Goddard since 2012, first as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow and now as a soft money funded scientist through University of Maryland. Erin is often found on Twitter under the user name @erinleeryan where she sometimes makes fun of her astronomer spouse @markdavidlacy and their dog @Buster_of_dog.

Introducing Luke Dones

Luke grew up in San Antonio, Texas and attended Harvard, where he majored in physics. He got his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. His thesis dealt with density waves in Saturn’s rings and the photometric properties of the rings as seen in Voyager images. He did a postdoc at NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley and another postdoc at CITA in Toronto. He then returned to NASA Ames, where he worked on “soft money” for seven years. Since 1999 he has worked at the Boulder office of Southwest Research Institute, where he is currently a Principal Scientist.

Luke’s research interests are mainly focused in the outer solar system, particularly the orbital dynamics of comets, Kuiper Belt objects, and planetary satellites and rings, and the impact histories of icy satellites. He is a member of the Imaging Team of the Cassini mission to Saturn.

Introducing Amy Barr

This week, May 26-31, 2014, features Amy Barr. Amy  is a planetary scientist who is interested in how the moons of gas giant planets accrete, evolve during their first billion years, and form the strange geology on their surfaces.  She has worked extensively on the geophysics of Europa, Ganymede, Callisto, and Enceladus. She is an alumna, and member of the Board of Trustees of the Summer Science Program, a summer enrichment program in astronomy for gifted high school students.  She holds a BS in planetary science from Caltech and a PhD in Astrophysics & Planetary Science from the University of Colorado.  After five years as a research scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, CO, Amy joined the faculty of Brown University where she is an assistant professor.  In their off hours, Amy and her husband Vladan (a condensed matter physicist) enjoy skiing, doing more science, travel, and spending time on the New England coast.  The rest of the year, she tweets as @amytoast.