Congratulations to Ashley Baker, who has been selected for a 51 Pegasi b Fellowship from the Heising-Simons Foundation! These fellowships were established in 2017 and are named for the first exoplanet discovered orbiting a Sun-like star. Their goal is to provide exceptional postdoctoral scientists with the opportunity to conduct theoretical, observational, and experimental research in planetary astronomy. Ashley will hold her fellowship at Caltech, and you can read more about her award on her awardee page at the foundation.
Ashley Baker is one of eight recipients of the 2020 51 Pegasi b Fellowship. Launched in 2016 by the Heising-Simons Foundation, the 51 Pegasi b Fellowship Program was designed to support early career investigators working in planetary astronomy, a field which sits at the intersection of astronomy and planetary science. The award recognizes scientists with extraordinary potential and provides awardees with the opportunity to conduct independent research and to develop new theories, tools, and techniques to push the field forward.
Baker is currently a Ph.D. candidate working with Cullen Blake. Her research interests include developing novel instruments for characterizing exoplanet atmospheres and expanding telluric correction practices to improve the precision of ground-based measurements. She also develops software that models Earth’s atmosphere to help mitigate the impact of water molecules on ground-based observations of exoplanets.
In her fellowship, Baker will develop observatory-class instrumentation, an experience that will enable her to address a number of questions about the nature of exoplanet atmospheres. By constructing and deploying new instruments to more fully survey and describe the atmospheres of exoplanets, her work will not only cultivate knowledge about distant worlds but will also lead to more precise and efficient measurements of their atmospheric characteristics from Earth.
Baker will receive a three-year grant of up to $375,000 to pursue her proposed research at the California Institute of Technology, Division of Physics, Mathematics, and Astronomy, her host institution. To date, the Fellowship program has awarded 26 fellowship grants, and Baker will join a growing 51 Pegasi b community that convenes annually to share research progress, discuss the latest ideas, findings, and theories in the field, and explore new avenues for advancement.