This topic has been passed on from mouth to mouth amongst students, professors, researchers, and industry representatives in FiO ever since Dr. Olivier Guyon delivered an energetic talk on the search for Exoplanets during the Student Leadership Conference on Sunday. Dr.Guyon, Associate Professor and Associate Astronomer at the College of Optical Sciences (U of Arizona), stepped on stage and dropped a few one-line jokes that quickly won the audience composed primarily of young graduate and undergraduate students from all over the world.
After this initial dose of humor, Dr. Guyon shared an ambitious project that has been in his mind ever since he was a young student: The search for exoplanets, planets that do not orbit the Earth’s sun. Dr.Guyon has extensive experience in instrumentation for astronomy and he is a pioneer in the field of adaptive optics; he spends half his time in Arizona and the other half at the Subaru Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. One of his current projects is to spark the interest of young scientists to aid in the discovery of exoplanets using affordable technologies, such as digital or mobile phone cameras. His main idea is simple, he asserts that one of the most efficient ways to detect exoplanets is to detect them in transit, which is to wait for them to pass in front of a star so that it causes periodic dimming of the star. As he lightly added, “it is a combination of good instrumentation and a bit of luck”.Dr. Guyon even teaches a course at the College of Optical Sciences that involves the design, building, and implementation of instruments to observe exoplanets in the starry Tucson sky.
His demeanor and his words were refreshing and inspiring; I will spread Dr. Guyon’s message and will strive to become involved in this worldwide scientific pursuit. I encourage you all to become part of it too!
Posted: 10/23/2014 11:17:01 AM by
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