Introducing Kathryn Neugent

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.

Introducing Thomas Connor

I am Thomas Connor (@Thomas_Connor), a postdoctoral fellow at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science. This fall, I will be moving down the road in Pasadena to JPL / Caltech as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow. Previously, I earned my PhD from Michigan State University. As an observational astronomer, I primarily work in the X-ray and optical regimes. I have varied scientific interests — I have worked on numerous nearby galaxies and the most distant quasar yet found. Much of my scientific work has focused on understanding the evolution of clusters of galaxies, utilizing the fantastic Hubble imaging of the CLASH program or my own observations taken on the Magellan telescopes. I am also involved in several active lines of research investigating the properties of quasars in the first billion years of the Universe.
During my week at the helm of Astrotweeps, I will be on-site at Las Campanas Observatory, one of the premier locations for ground-based observations, talking both about life as an observational astronomer and sharing the experience as a total solar eclipse passes over the observatory. The eclipse, which will be visible just before sunset from Buenos Aires, Argentina to La Serena, Chile, and out into the Pacific Ocean, will occur on July 2. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to arrive just to the little stretch of desert that La Silla and Las Campanas Observatories call home, not to mention everywhere else in the path of the totality.
When not working, I like to spend time outside: hiking, climbing, and camping, and I have recently gotten back into running after a decade of sloth.

Introducing Marcel Pawlowski

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.

Twitter: @8minutesold
Website: http://marcelpawlowski.com

Re-introducing Sarah McIntyre

I’m Sarah McIntyre (@ExoBioExplorer) a PhD student at the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics at the Australian National University.

My current research aims to examine the effect that a diverse range of astronomical and planetary parameters have on an exoplanet’s ability to sustain liquid water. I spend most of my time working on exoplanet models and simulations and doing lab experiments. Long term research plans include helping determine optimal targets for near-future ground- and space-based observations of planetary atmospheres and the potential detection of life in space.

When not exploring exoplanets I read (lately mainly about AI/machine learning), compose, play piano (or violin) and travel.

Re-introducing Meg Schwamb

Meg Schwamb is currently an assistant scientist at Gemini Observatory. She also serves as the NIRI (Near-InfraRed Imager) instrument scientist at Gemini North in Hilo, Hawai’i.  She is a planetary scientist and astronomer focusing on understanding how planets and their building blocks form and evolve. Starting later this year, Meg will be island hopping. She’ll be leaving the Big Island of Hawai’i and heading to Northern Ireland.  Later this year, Meg will be joining Queen’s University Belfast as a lecturer in the Astrophysics Research Centre.

Meg uses large surveys to probe the small body reservoirs in the Solar System. Her work focuses on studying the orbital and surface properties of Kuiper belt objects, like Pluto in the Outer Solar System.  Meg is currently serving as co-chair of the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope Solar System Science Collaboration. Meg also mines large datasets via citizen science, enlisting hundreds of thousands of people worldwide in the research effort. She is currently involved in the  Planet Four , Planet Four: Terrains, Planet Four: Ridges citizen science projects to respectively map seasonal fans on the south pole of Mars, characterize surface features on the Martian South Pole and map polygonal ridges in the Martian mid latitudes

You can find Meg on twitter at @megschwamb

Introducing Jana Grcevich

I’m the outreach coordinator for Columbia University’s Astronomy Department, and an adjunct instructor at the Cooper Union School of Art and at the American Museum of Natural History. I received my PhD from Columbia University for work on dwarf galaxies and interstellar gas. I was the Kathryn W. Davis Postdoctoral Fellow at the American Museum of Natural History, where I taught future high-school science teachers with the Master of Arts in Teaching program, and where I host shows for the Astronomy Live series at the Hayden planetarium. I was an Insight Data Science fellow, and worked as a data scientist and consultant with Schireson Associates for a year and a half doing television ad targeting using machine learning. I was also a Simon’s Foundation Science Sandbox Fellow working on the interpretation of astronomical data for the public.

I have been a long time “space travel agent” and collaborator with Guerilla Science‘s Intergalactic Travel Bureau events, most recently at the Exploratorium. I co-wrote a space-oriented travel guide, the Vacation Guide to the Solar System, published by Penguin Random House in 2017, and worked on the free virtual reality Space Vacation app. I also enjoy printmaking, paper marbling, and textile arts.

Introducing Richard Easther

Prof Richard Easther is an astrophysicist at the University of Auckland, in New Zealand. Easther’s work spans topics in astrophysics and particle cosmology. These range from the behaviour of dark matter on galactic scales, through to the cosmology of the “multiverse”, observational signatures of the hypothetical “inflationary” era, and the possible cosmological implications of string theory.

Easther is a New Zealander, and completed his undergraduate degree and PhD at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, graduating with his doctorate in 1994. He held post-doctoral positions at Waseda in Tokyo, Brown in Providence. Rhode Island, and Columbia in New York City. Easther became a faculty member in Physics and Astronomy at Yale University from 2004. He returned to New Zealand at the end of 2011, moving home to take up a professorship at the University of Auckland, where he is currently Head of Department [Chair] of Physics.

An enthusiastic teacher, Easther has led a major overhaul of the undergraduate physics curriculum at the University of Auckland, and he is a co-founder of the university’s Science Scholars programme. Easther has been involved with a number of initiatives to improve equity outcomes, and he is a frequent commentator on science and technology issues in New Zealand. His blog is at excursionset.com, he is on twitter at @reasther and his group’s homepage is at cosmology.auckland.ac.nz