|Dr. Kim Weaver/ Associate Director for Science of the Astrophysics Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Kim Weaver is an astrophysicist and Associate Director for Science of the Astrophysics Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. She began studying astronomy at the University of Maryland in 1987. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Weaver won a NASA Presidential Early Career Award into pursue research in extragalactic astronomy. She came to Goddard in 1998 to work on the Constellation-X mission, part of NASA's Beyond Einstein program. She most recently served at NASA HQ as press liaison for the Astrophysics Division and Program Scientist for the Spitzer Space Telescope.
|Dr. Aki Roberge / NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Aki Roberge received her PhD in astrophysics from the Johns Hopkins University in 2002, and her BS in physics with a planetary science minor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1996. She was a Barbara McClintock Postdoctoral Fellow at the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Terrestrial Magnetism from 2002 to 2005. She then moved to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, where she continues her research on observations of planet-forming disks around nearby young stars. She is an associate member of the science team for NASA's Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer and is a participant in NASA's Navigator Program Science Forum to support the search for Earth-like planets.
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Dr. Conel Alexander / Department of Terrestrial Magnetism, Carnegie Institution of Washington
Dr. Conel Alexander is a staff member in the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism at the Carnegie Institution of Washington. As a cosmochemist, Alexander studies meteorites to find the clues about what went on before and during the formation of our solar system. He is particularly interested in the analysis of chondrules, millimeter-size spherical objects that are the dominant constituent of the most primitive types of meteorites. Alexander's other major interest is pre-solar materials preserved in meteorites. These include the tiny grains that emerged around dying stars and interstellar organic matter. By deciphering these relics, he hopes to understand the processes of galaxy evolution, the formation of the elements inside stars via nucleosynthesis, stellar evolution and the formation of organic matter in interstellar space. Among other affiliations, Conel Alexander is a member of the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI), an interdisciplinary research consortium made up of academic and nonprofit organizations and NASA centers. He is also a member of the NASA Cosmochemistry Program review committee. He received his PhD from the University of Essex in 1987.
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Dr. Marc J. Kuchner/Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Dr. Marc Kuchner, the newest staff member of Goddard's Exoplanets and Stellar Astrophysics Laboratory works on theory and observations of planets around other stars. Last year, Kuchner and Dr. Sara Seager suggested that extrasolar planets made substantially from carbon might be common around ordinary stars (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_planet). The Beta Pictoris disk may be a natural place where these exotic planets--perhaps containing thick layers of diamond--could form.
Kuchner earned his bachelors degree in physics from Harvard and his Ph.D. in astronomy from Caltech, and went on to be a postdoctoral fellow at both Princeton University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics before arriving at Goddard. Kuchner has searched for planets and disks using the Hubble Space Telescope, the Keck Telescopes, and the Spitzer space telescope, and developed a popular dynamical model of the debris disk around Vega---a system similar to Beta Pictoris. He invented the coronagraph that powers the current design for NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder mission, a future space telescope that will search for Earth-like extrasolar planets. Besides working on astrophysics, Kuchner writes country songs.
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