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Participant Bios
Media Telecon: Nov. 6, 2007, 1 p.m. EST (10 a.m. PST)
Zlatan Tsvetanov Zlatan Tsvetanov
Program Scientist
NASA Headquarters

Zlatan Tsvetanov is a program scientist in the Science Mission Directorate's astrophysics division at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. He also manages the research and analysis program on extrasolar planets, the scientific development of the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission, and he serves as program scientist for NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer mission. Prior to joining NASA in 2003,Tsvetanov had a very active research career in both ground- and space-based astronomy. He is a member of the science team of the Advanced Camera for Surveys on the Hubble Space Telescope, and previously of the Faint Object Spectrograph. His areas of expertise and interest include active galactic nuclei and their central black holes, high redshift quasars, brown dwarfs and most recently extrasolar planets. Tsvetanov has a bachelor's degree from the University of Sofia, Bulgaria, and a doctorate from Moscow State University, Russia. His is currently on assignment at NASA from the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
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Debra Fischer Debra Fischer
Professor of Astronomy
San Francisco State University

Debra Fischer is an astronomy professor at San Francisco State University. She manages the planet search program at Lick Observatory, where she initiated plans for a dedicated planet-finding telescope. Fischer has been working on the detection of extrasolar planets and the characterization of the host stars since 1997, when she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. Her observations and mathematical models contributed to the discovery of about 100 exoplanets, including the first triple- planet system orbiting Upsilon Andromeda. She is the principal investigator of an international consortium to detect planets that are likely to transit host stars. This program detected a Saturn-mass planet with a 70 Earth-mass core. A study by Fischer and her colleague Jeff Valenti was able to demonstrate that gas giant planets tend to form around stars that are rich in heavy metals such as carbon and iron. Fischer is currently serving on the astrophysics subcommittee and the Exoplanet Task Force for the NASA Advisory Council. Fischer has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, a master's in physics from San Francisco State University, and her doctorate from University of California, Santa Cruz.
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Geoff Marcy Geoffrey Marcy
Professor of Astronomy
University of California, Berkeley

Geoffrey W. Marcy is a professor of astronomy at the University of California, Berkeley and an adjunct professor of physics and astronomy at San Francisco State University. He is also the director of Berkeley's "Center for Integrative Planetary Science," a research unit that studies the formation, geophysics, chemistry and evolution of planets. Marcy's research focuses on the detection of extrasolar planets and brown dwarfs. His team has discovered the majority of the 250 known planets around other stars, including the first multiple-planet system, the first Saturn-mass planets, and the first Neptune-mass planet. The goal is to discover the first Earth-like planets and to find other planetary systems like our own solar system. Marcy is the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious Shaw Prize in 2005, Discovery Magazine's Space Scientist of the Year in 2003, the NASA Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement, the Carl Sagan Award, the Beatrice Tinsley Prize, and the Henry Draper Medal from the National Academy of Sciences. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Jonathan Lunine Jonathan Lunine
Professor of Planetary Sciences and Physics
University of Arizona, Tucson

Jonathan Lunine is a professor of planetary sciences and physics and a Galileo Circle faculty fellow at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is also an interdisciplinary scientist on NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn, and on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope, and the David Baltimore Distinguished Visiting Scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Lunine's research centers on planets and planetary systems, the nature of organics in the outer solar system, and the formation of habitable worlds. He chairs the Exoplanet Task Force of the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee chartered by NASA and the National Science Foundation. He is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Geophysical Union, which awarded him the James B. Macelwane medal. Lunine earned his bachelor's degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Rochester, New York, and his master's degree and doctorate in planetary science from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. He is the author of "Earth: Evolution of a Habitable World," and "Astrobiology: A Multidisciplinary Approach."
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