Faculty


Jonathan Fortney

OWL Director

Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

I am interested in planetary physics, chemistry, and composition. In exoplanets, I model planetary atmospheres, interiors, and thermal evolution, and I work closely with observers to interpret new data sets. This work includes transiting planets, directly imaged planets, and brown dwarfs. I was a member of the Kepler Science Team during its prime mission. In the solar system I work on models of the interior structure of giant planets and I am a member of the Science Team for the Cassini Mission at Saturn.

Personal Website

jfortney at ucsc dot edu


Douglas N. C. Lin

Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

The theory of planetary formation and evolution is a natural area for me to focus my research activities for several reasons. First, we are currently in the midst of a revolution in the search for exoplanets. These valuable data drive theorists like myself to explore new ideas to account for the ubiquity of planets and diversity of planetary systems. My goal is to construct a unified theory which can explain the statistical properties of planetary systems.

Personal Website

lin at ucolick dot org

 


Ruth Murray-Clay

Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

I study the formation and evolution of planetary systems, including the solar system. I am particularly interested in planetary dynamics, planet formation, evolution of planetary atmospheres, the solar system's Kuiper belt, and the structure of disks orbiting young stars.

rmc at ucsc dot edu


Andrew Skemer

Assistant Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

My work involves characterizing the atmospheres of exoplanets and searching for new ones with adaptive optics imaging and spectroscopy. To this end, I develop novel instrumentation and observational techniques to improve our ability to see very faint planets near their bright host stars. I am particularly interested in instrumentation that expands our ability to image exoplanets at a variety of wavelengths and spectral resolutions.

askemer at ucsc dot edu


Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz

Professor
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

My research focuses on the violent universe with an emphasis on stellar explosions, gamma-ray bursts and accretion phenomena. I am particularly interested in understanding the physical processes that govern accretion onto relativistic objects such as black holes and neutron stars.

Personal Website

enrico at ucolick dot org



Credit: © 2007 Laurie Hatch
http://www.lauriehatch.com

Steven S. Vogt

Professor / Astronomer
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

My current research is focussed on the detection and characterization of planets around nearby stars. This work involves using high resolution spectroscopy on large telescopes to obtain meter/second precision radial velocities, through which planets can be detected, sensing the reflex barycentric motion of their host star. I also do a lot of instrumentation development in support of this research.

Personal Website

vogt at ucolick dot org



Credit: Michael Bolte

Peter H. Bodenheimer

Professor Emeritus
Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics
University of California, Santa Cruz

Research interests:
Formation of extrasolar planets of sub-Neptune type either in situ or with migration; formation of Jupiter with improved physics, for example, including the effects of deposition of planetesimals in the gaseous envelope.

Personal Website

peter at ucolick dot org


Francis Nimmo
Francis Nimmo

Professor
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz

I am interested in how planets and satellites have evolved to their current states, and what explains the planetary diversity we see. For instance, why are Enceladus and Io geologically active, but not Mimas or Callisto? Why do the Earth and Ganymede possess magnetic fields at the present day, while Mars and Europa do not? Why is Pluto so geologically active? To answer questions like these requires a combination of present-day observations and geophysical models.

Personal Website

fnimmo at es dot ucsc dot edu


Ian Garrick-Bethell
Ian Garrick-Bethell

Assistant Professor
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz

I am interested in using paleomagnetism and spacecraft measurements of gravity, topography, and magnetic fields to understand the geologic and geophysical history of solar system bodies. I am also a visiting scholar at Kyung Hee University, which is playing a key role in South Korea's first robotic mission to the Moon.

Personal Website

igarrick at ucsc dot edu


Xi Zhang
Xi Zhang

Assistant Professor
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz

My primary interest is planetary climate. The goal of my research is to develop a fundamental understanding of the planetary climate system from observational, theoretical and modeling work. My philosophy is that every planet occupies a unique niche of the parameter space in the planetary climate theory, in which they share the same fundamental principles. I am interested in many topics on atmospheric science, including fluid dynamics, spectroscopy, chemistry, cloud microphysics, and radiative transfer, that provide me multiple perspectives to view the complicated climate systems on solar system planets, extra-solar planets and brown dwarfs.

Personal Website

xiz at ucsc dot edu


Quentin Williams
Quentin Williams

Department Chair,
Distinguished Professor,
Associate Vice Chancellor for Research
Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
University of California, Santa Cruz

My research focuses on the high pressure properties of earth and planetary materials. Since planetary interiors comprise essentially all of the mass of planets, the behavior, polymorphism and chemistry of materials at high pressures are all key for determining the density and moment of inertia of planetary bodies. In short, my work involves experimentally probing the guts of planets.

Personal Website

qwilliam at ucsc dot edu


Pascale Garaud
Pascale Garaud

Professor of Applied Mathematics
Department of Applied Mathematics and Statistics
University of California, Santa Cruz

I am a specialist in astrophysical fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics. My work is dedicated to improving our current understanding of how fluid flows, on small and large scales, influence the structure and evolution of stars and planets.

Personal Website

pgaraud at soe dot ucsc dot edu