Skip to main content

Science Advisory Board

Introduction

CIERA’s Scientific Advisory Board consists of astronomers with a record of exceptional scientific work, expertise, and international leadership. The goal of the Board is to provide an external view on the trajectory of CIERA’s work, to ensure we continue to advance scientifically and foster an equitable and collaborative environment at the forefront of modern astronomy.

Science Advisory Board

Julianne Dalcanton

Director of the Center for Computational Astrophysics at the Flatiron Institute

Dalcanton received her Ph.D. in astrophysical sciences from Princeton University. Before joining the Simons Foundation in 2021, Dalcanton held a postdoctoral position at the Observatories of the Carnegie Institution of Washington and a faculty position at the University of Washington. Dalcanton is one of the largest single users of the Hubble Space Telescope, serving as principal investigator of a large HST Multicycle Treasury, and is well known for her discovery of the comet C/1999 F2 Dalcanton. She has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including the Beatrice M. Tinsley Prize and the naming of Asteroid 148384 Dalcanton in her honor.​

Andrea Ghez

Lauren B. Leichtman & Arthur E. Levine chair in Astrophysics at University of California, Los Angeles

Ghez received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology. Before joining the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1994, Ghez held a Hubble postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona. Ghez heads UCLA’s Galactic Center Group and is best known for her ground-breaking work on the center of our Galaxy, which has led to the best evidence to date for the existence of supermassive black holes. She has been elected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences and has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including a share of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020 for providing conclusive experimental evidence of a supermassive compact object in the Milky Way’s galactic center.

Fiona Harrison

Harold A. Rosen Professor of Physics & Kent and Joyce Kresa Leadership Chair, Division of Physics, Mathematics and Astronomy at the California Institute of Technology

Harrison received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. Before joining the California Institute of Technology faculty in 1995, Harrison held a Millikan postdoctoral fellowship. Harrison is the Principal Investigator on the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission, receiving the Hans Bethe Prize in 2020 for her work, and focuses her research on developing new optics and detectors for high-energy astrophysics and using current NASA missions combined with Caltech’s optical telescopes to study energetic phenomena. She has been elected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, and has been honored by numerous prizes and awards, including the Bruno Rossi Prize. Harrison was appointed to serve as co-chair of the National Academies Astronomy and Astrophysics 2020 Decadal Survey committee.

Ray Jayawardhana

Harold Tanner Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Hans A. Bethe Professor and Professor of Astronomy at Cornell University

Jayawardhana received his Ph.D. in astronomy from Harvard University. Before joining Cornell University in 2018, Jayawardhana held a Miller Research Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and faculty positions at the University of Michigan and the University of Toronto, also serving as the Dean of Science at York University. Jayawardhana is a core science team member for the NIRISS instrument on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), his group leading a Gemini Observatory large program on high-resolution spectroscopy of exoplanet atmospheres, and is widely known as an acclaimed writer. He has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including the Rutherford Medal, the Carl Sagan Medal, and CSWA Science in Society Book Award in 2014 for his book Neutrino Hunters. Jayawardhana also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Vicky Kaspi

Director of the Trottier Space Institute and Professor of Physics at McGill University

Kaspi received her Ph.D. from Princeton University. Before joining McGill University in 1999, Kaspi held a Hubble postdoctoral fellowship at the California Institute of Technology and Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a faculty position at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Kaspi’s research focuses on observational studies of neutron stars, using radio and X-ray telescopes to study pulsars and Fast Radio Bursts, and she dedicates much of her time to mentoring students and early-career scientists. She has been elected as a Fellow to the Royal Society of London, the Royal Society of Canada, the American Physical Society, the American Astronomical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, and has been honored by numerous prizes and awards, including the Royal Society Bakerian Medal and the Shaw Prize in Astronomy.

Robert Kirshner

Clowes Research Professor of Science at Harvard University

Kirshner received his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology where he has been named a Distinguished Alumnus. Before joining Harvard University in 1986, Kirshner held a postdoctoral position at the Kitt Peak National Observatory and became chair of Astronomy at the University of Michigan. In 2015, he became Chief Program Officer for Science athe Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and, in Spring 2002, Kirshner was named Executive Director of the Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory in Spring 2022. His work on the discovery of cosmic acceleration is chronicled in “The Extravagant Universe: exploding stars, dark energy, and the accelerating cosmos.” He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences. He has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including the James Craig Watson Medal, the Wolf Prize in Physics, and the Dannie Heineman Prize for Astrophysics.

Angela Olinto

Dean of the Physical Sciences Division, Albert A. Michelson Distinguished Service Professor at the University of ChicagoOlinto is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Enrico Fermi Institute at the University of Chicago. She received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and joined the Fermilab Theoretical Astrophysics Group as a postdoctoral fellow. Olinto is the Principal Investigator of the POEMMA (Probe Of Extreme Multi-Messenger Astrophysics) space mission and the EUSO (Extreme Universe Space Observatory) on a super pressure balloon (SPB) mission, and was a member of the Pierre Auger Observatory. She is best known for her contributions to the study of the structure of neutron stars, primordial inflationary theory, cosmic magnetic fields, the nature of dark matter, and the origin of the highest energy cosmic rays, gamma-rays, and neutrinos. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, and has been honored by numerous prizes and awards, including the Faculty Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching and Mentoring from The University of Chicago in 2015.

Eliot Quataert

Charles A. Young Professor of Astronomy at Princeton University

Quataert received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Before joining Princeton University in 2020, Quataert held a postdoctoral position at the Institute for Advanced Study and a faculty position at the University of California, Berkeley. He has a wide variety of research interests, including black holes, stars, plasma astrophysics, and galaxy formation. Quataert dedicates much of his time to mentoring students and early career scientists. He has been elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, and honored by the Helen B. Warner Prize for Astronomy and the Donald Sterling Noyce Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and named one of the first Simons Investigators by the Simons Foundation.

Marcia Rieke

Regents’ Professor of Astronomy, Astronomer and Elizabeth Roemer Endowed Chair at University of Arizona and Steward Observatory

Rieke received her Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Before joining the University of Arizona as faculty, Rieke held a postdoctoral fellowship position at the University of Arizona in 1976. Her research interests include infrared observations and she is best known as the Principal Investigator on the near-infrared camera (NIRCam) for the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). She has been elected as a Fellow of the American Astronomical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Sciences, and has been honored with numerous prizes and awards, including NASA’s Exceptional Public Service Medal.

Alberto Vecchio

Director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Birmingham

Vecchio received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the Universita’ di Milano, Italy. Before joining the University of Birmingham in 2001, he held post-doctoral positions at Cardiff University and the Albert-Einstein-Institut (Max-Planck-Institut fuer Gravitationsphysik). Vecchio heads the University of Birmingham’s Astrophysics and Space Research and is the founding Director of the Institute for Gravitational Wave Astronomy. Vecchio’s research focuses on gravitational-wave physics, observations across the gravitational-wave spectrum, and instrument development for ground-based laser interferometers. He is a member of the LIGO team that detected gravitational waves in 2015 and has been honored with several awards and prizes, including being co-recipient of the 2016 Special Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics. He is a Royal Society Wolfson Fellow and Turing Fellow.