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February 25, 2009 11:10 AM (EST)

News Release Number: STScI-2009-09

NASA Announces 2009 Astronomy and Astrophysics Fellows

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NASA Announces 2009 Astronomy and Astrophysics FellowsView this image

NASA has selected fellows in three areas of astronomy and astrophysics for its Einstein, Hubble, and Sagan Fellowships. The recipients of this year's postdoctoral fellowships will conduct independent research at institutions around the country.

"The new fellows are among the best and brightest young astronomers in the world," said Jon Morse, director of the Astrophysics Division in NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington. "They already have contributed significantly to studies of how the universe works, the origin of our cosmos and whether we are alone in the cosmos. The fellowships will serve as a springboard for scientific leadership in the years to come, and as an inspiration for the next generation of students and early career researchers."

Each fellowship provides support to the awardees for three years. The fellows may pursue their research at any host university or research center of their choosing in the United States. The new fellows will begin their programs in the fall of 2009.

"I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to spending the next few years conducting research in the U.S., thanks to the fellowships," said Karin Oberg, a graduate student in Leiden, The Netherlands. Oberg will study the evolution of water and ices during star formation when she starts her fellowship at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Mass.

A diverse group of 32 young scientists will work on a wide variety of projects, such as understanding supernova hydrodynamics, radio transients, neutron stars, galaxy clusters and the intercluster medium, supermassive black holes, their mergers and the associated gravitational waves, dark energy, dark matter and the reionization process. Other research topics include searching for transits among hot Neptunes and super-Earths, microlensing planets through modeling algorithms, conducting high-contrast imaging surveys to detect planetary-mass companions, interferometrically imaging of the inner regions of protoplanetary disks, and modeling of super-Earth planetary atmospheres.

The 17 awardees of the Hubble Fellowship pursue research associated with NASA's "Cosmic Origins Program." The missions in this program examine the origins of galaxies, stars, and planetary systems, and the evolution of these structures with cosmic time. The Hubble Fellowships are administered for NASA by the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.

The 2009 Hubble Fellows are:

Name Ph.D. Institution Host Institution
Stephen Ammons Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, 2009 Univ. of Arizona
Misty Bentz Ohio State Univ., 2007 Univ. of California, Irvine
Tabetha Boyajian Georgia State Univ., 2009 Georgia State Univ.
Kevin Covey Univ. of Washington, 2006 Cornell Univ.
Kristian Finlator Univ. of Arizona, 2009 Univ. of California, Santa Barbara
Mario Juric Princeton Univ., 2007 Harvard Univ.
Evan Kirby Univ. of California, Santa Cruz, 2009 Caltech
Adam Kraus Caltech, 2009 Univ. of Hawaii
Adam Leroy Univ. of Califronia, Berkeley, 2006 NRAO
Daniel Marrone Harvard Univ., 2006 Univ. of Chicago
Karin Oberg Leiden Univ., 2009 Smithsonian Astrophysical Observ.
Jose Prieto Ohio State Univ., 2009 OCIW, Pasadena
Brant Robertson Harvard Univ., 2006 Caltech
Lisa Winter Univ. of Maryland, 2008 Univ. of Colorado, Boulder
John Wise Stanford Univ., 2007 Princeton Univ.
Shelley Wright Univ. of California, Los Angeles, 2008 Univ. of California, Berkeley
Joshua Younger Harvard Univ., 2009 Inst. for Advanced Study


The ten Fellows in the Einstein program conduct research that is broadly related to the mission of NASA's "Physics of the Cosmos Program." Its science goals include understanding the origin and destiny of the universe, the nature of gravity, phenomena near black holes, and extreme states of matter. The Einstein Fellowships are administered for NASA by the Chandra X-ray Center in Cambridge, Mass.

The Sagan Fellowship, which was created in September 2008, supports five scientists whose research is aligned with NASA's "Exoplanet Exploration Program." The primary goal of this program is to discover and characterize planetary systems and Earth-like planets around other stars. The Sagan Fellowship Program is administered by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, which is operated at the California Institute of Technology in coordination with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif.

A full list of the 2009 fellows and other information about these programs is available at:

For more information about NASA's Astrophysics Division, visit:

Hubble Postdoctoral Fellowship Program Recipients: