Associate Professor of Physics at University of Nevada, Las Vegas
This week, Ira spoke with Jason Steffen, Associate Professor of Physics at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, who helped organize Exoplanets IV, being held in Las Vegas through May 6 and presented by The American Astronomical Society. In this Interplanetary episode of Ira’s Everything Bagel, Jason talks about when he discovered his passion for exoplanets; why the sub-discipline of exoplanets contributes to understanding our own solar system; how 10 exoplanets were discovered when he began his studies and there are no 5,000; how planetary systems form and the different paths they could have taken; the different methods (some of which are complementary to each other) for studying them, including the transit method; discovering the first exoplanet orbiting a star like our sun in 1995; and why the discipline is diversifying.
Dr. Jason Steffen has a bachelor’s degree in Physics and Mathematics from Weber State University in Utah, and a master’s and PhD in Physics from the University of Washington. He was a scientist at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory near Chicago, a research faculty member at Northwestern University, and is now an Associate Professor of Physics at UNLV. Jason was a member of the science team for NASA’s Kepler mission where he contributed to the discovery and characterization of hundreds of distant planets. He has worked in a variety of disciplines including dark matter, dark energy, gravitation, exoplanets, and airline passenger boarding. Jason has over 80 refereed publications with over 15,000 citations in these various fields.