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Eight Early-Career Scientists Awarded 51 Pegasi b Fellowship

Eight early-career scientists from around the globe have been selected to receive the 2020 51 Pegasi b Fellowship for their competitive research focused on planetary astronomy.

The Foundation launched the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship Program in 2016 to nurture the field of planetary astronomy––the intersection of astronomy and planetary science––and to support the many creative, brilliant scientists eager to tackle these challenging questions. The Fellowship program recognizes early-career investigators with extraordinary potential and provides them with the opportunity to conduct independent research and to develop new theories, tools, and techniques to push the field forward. Each recipient will receive a three-year grant up to $375,000 to pursue their proposed research at their selected host institution.

To date, the Fellowship program has awarded 26 fellowship grants. This year’s fellows join a growing 51 Pegasi b community that convenes annually to share research progress, discuss the latest ideas, findings, and theories in the field, and explore new avenues for advancement.

The Foundation extends its warmest congratulations to the 2020 recipients:

Elizabeth Bailey, University of California, Santa Cruz
Faculty Mentor: Professor Jonathan Fortney
Research interest: Integrating growing exoplanet data into a cohesive picture to contextualize the foundations of our solar system.

Ashley Baker, California Institute of Technology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Dimitri Mawet
Research Interest: Designing novel instruments for improving the precision of ground-based measurements and characterizing exoplanet atmospheres.

Samuel Birch, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Taylor Perron
Research Interest: Investigating the surfaces of outer solar system objects to untangle their geological and climate history.

Emilie Dunham, University of California, Los Angeles
Faculty Mentor: Professor Kevin McKeegan
Research Interest: Studying the heritage of meteorites to develop a timeline for planet formation and other early solar system events.

Emily First, Cornell University
Faculty Mentor: Professor Esteban Gazel
Research Interest: Casting light on the composition of rocky planets across the galaxy by cataloguing and interpreting geological signals.

Eileen Gonzales, Cornell University
Faculty Mentor: Professor Nikole Lewis
Research Interest: Merging observation and theory to translate learnings about brown dwarf atmospheres to other celestial objects and prep the field for future exoplanet discoveries.

Kimberly Moore, California Institute of Technology
Faculty Mentor: Professor David Stevenson
Research Interest: Rewriting the narrative about Jupiter’s interior by pioneering new methods to map its magnetic field.

Benjamin Tofflemire, University of Texas at Austin
Faculty Mentor: Professor Adam Kraus
Research Interest: Conducting observational campaigns to examine the dynamics of binary star systems and the ways they sculpt their planet-forming environments.