photo of Jayne Birkby

Jayne Birkby

NASA Sagan Fellow
Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Dr Jayne Birkby is a NASA Sagan Fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She works on measuring the chemical make up of exoplanet atmospheres and is pioneering new techniques that will ultimately hunt for molecular signatures of life on other nearby Earth-like worlds. Dr Birkby received her Masters degrees in Physics and Astronomy from Durham University, UK and then her PhD in Astrophysics from the University of Cambridge. Her thesis focused on the fundamental properties of cool stars. These stars are the prime targets for finding habitable worlds, and host the recently announced terrestrial planets orbiting the Proxima and TRAPPIST-1 star systems. Dr Birkby spent 3 years as a postdoctoral fellow at Leiden Observatory in the Netherlands before moving to Harvard, and in this time developed a technique for finding water in exoplanet atmospheres using ground-based telescopes. Her goal is to adapt this technique to look for oxygen and other biomarkers with the upcoming extremely large telescopes, such as the Giant Magellan Telescope.

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Events featuring Jayne Birkby
Events featuring Jayne Birkby