Professor Sara Seager is an astrophysicist and planetary scientist at MIT. A pioneer in the vast world of exoplanets, she’s on a quest for the holy grail: another Earth. When Sara was growing up, the number of exoplanets that had been discovered in the atmosphere was naught. Today she is aware of thousands. Her research focuses on theory, computation, and data analysis of exoplanets. She introduced many new ideas to the field of exoplanet characterization, including work that led to the first detection of an exoplanet atmosphere. Professor Seager also works in space instrumentation and space missions for exoplanets, including CubeSats, as a co-investigator on the MIT-led TESS, a NASA Explorer Mission to be launched in 2017, and chaired the NASA Science and Technology Definition Team for a “Probe-class” Starshade and telescope system for direct imaging discovery and characterization of Earth analogs. She has been recognized in the media, most recently in Time Magazine’s 25 Most Influential in Space in 2012.
Before joining MIT in 2007, Professor Seager spent four years on the senior research staff at the Carnegie Institution of Washington preceded by three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ. Her PhD is from Harvard University. Professor Seager is on the advisory board for Planetary Resources. Professor Seager was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2015, is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow, the 2012 recipient of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in the Physical Sciences, and the 2007 recipient of the American Astronomical Society’s Helen B. Warner Prize.