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New Postdoctoral Researchers at the IfA

Each year, a new crop of postdoctoral fellows, many with freshly granted PhDs, arrives at IfA. Some bring national research grants, such as Hubble fellowships. Others are supported by grants to IfA faculty.

Jason Byrne

Jason Byrne arrived in Hawai‘i from Dublin, Ireland, in January 2011. In 2010 he received his PhD in physics from Trinity College Dublin, where he worked with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington, DC. His somewhat unwieldy title at IfA is "coronal mass ejection model and data analyst postdoctoral fellow." He is studying the Sun with Shadia Habbal.

Caitlin Casey

Caitlin Casey (PhD, 2010, University of Cambridge, UK) is a Hubble Fellow. She studies ultraluminous infrared galaxies (ULIRGs), which have the highest rates of star formation in the Universe’s history. Casey explains that while ULIRGs are rare now, “they were quite numerous about 10 billion years ago, when galaxy formation (and destruction) was much more common (and the Universe was a far more interesting place to be).”

Lydia Hallis

Lydia Hallis (PhD, 2010, Open University, UK) is an Astrobiology Postdoctoral Fellow who studies water in the early solar system. Her main focus is the hydrogen isotope composition of the water in meteorites that come to Earth from Mars, and what this can tell us about the early history of Mars and the formation of the terrestrial planets.

Henry Hsieh

Henry Hsieh received his PhD from UH in 2007, and after a stint as a postdoctoral fellow at the Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland, he has returned to IfA as a Hubble Fellow to pursue his studies of small solar system bodies, especially main-belt comets, which share properties of both comets and asteroids. (See “Comet or Asteroid?” in Nā Kilo Hōkū no. 12.)

Kaori Jogo

Kaori Jogo (PhD, 2010, Kyushu University, Japan) is an Astrobiology Postdoctoral Fellow who studies water in asteroids. Her main focus is the oxygen isotope composition and the isotopic dating of alteration minerals in primitive meteorites (for example, carbonaceous and ordinary chondrites), and what this can tell us about the evolution process of the asteroids containing water.

Regina Jorgenson

Regina Jorgenson (PhD, 2008, University of California, San Diego) studies galaxy formation and evolution. Prior to coming to Hawai‘i, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Astronomy at the University of Cambridge. Before attending graduate school, she traveled in Europe and Asia as a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow for a project entitled "Women in Astronomy and the Effects of Culture on Science."

Mike Koss

Michael Koss (PhD, 2011, University of Maryland)  studies the host galaxies of active galactic nuclei, which contain huge black holes that radiate energy billions of times greater than that of the Sun. After graduating from Notre Dame with a degree in physics, Koss taught high school science for a year, and worked for three years on the Grand Challenge Robotic vehicles race. As a visiting graduate student at IfA, he mentored high school students and participated in the HI STAR program.

Jessica Lu

Jessica Lu (PhD, 2008, University of California, Los Angeles) is continuing her work on star formation in extreme environments, such as near the supermassive black hole at the center of our Milky Way Galaxy. She uses infrared images taken with the Laser Guide Star Adaptive Optics Systems on the Keck telescopes to measure the motion and brightness of these young stars, and compares them to those near the Sun to test whether stars form in a different manner under extreme conditions.

Eric Nielsen

Eric Nielsen (PhD, 2011, University of Arizona) directly images and characterizes exoplanets and brown dwarfs. While a graduate student at the University of Arizona, he started working with IfA astronomer Michael Liu on the Gemini NICI Planet-Finding Campaign. NICI, the Near-Infrared Coronagraphic Imager installed on the Gemini South telescope in Chile, was designed specifically to image exoplanets.

Peter Veres

Peter Veres (PhD, 2010, Comenius University, Slovakia) has succeeded Mikael Granvik as the Pan-STARRS PS1 Moving Object Processing System (MOPS) postdoctoral fellow. He studies populations of small near-Earth asteroids, meteors, and transiting exoplanets. Like several of the other new postdocs, Veres spent time at IfA while he was a student.

 

Photos courtesy of each postdoc.