©2019 BY ERIK PETIGURA

I grew up in Palo Alto, California. When I was about five years old, I watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos on laser disc (!), which inspired a lifelong passion for science and astronomy. For Halloween in 1995, I went trick-or-treating as Tycho Brahe, the badass Danish astronomer with a golden nose. Around the same time, the Mayor and Marcy groups were beginning to find planets around other Suns and the field of exoplanet astronomy took off.

I studied physics and astronomy as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley living at the International House, among other places. I graduated in 2010 and moved to San Francisco, but I returned to Berkeley as a graduate student that same year and began working on my PhD under the guidance of Geoff Marcy. My thesis focused on measuring the prevalence of planets as small as Earth using NASA's Kepler mission. This work helped to constrain the frequency of planets similar to Earth in size and temperature. From 2013 to 2014, I had the wonderful opportunity to work at the University of Hawaii with Andrew Howard (now at Caltech). In Hawaii, I grew to love surfing, poke, and Jawaiian music.

After completing my PhD in 2015, I moved to Los Feliz, a hipster neighborhood of Los Angeles in the shadow of Griffith Observatory. I am a Hubble Fellow at the California Institute of Technology. I work in the  Astronomy Department and have many friends and colleagues across the street in Planetary Science.

The prime Kepler mission ended in 2013, but the spacecraft and its census of 4000+ planets continues to bear fruit. As a postdoc, I've worked on the California-Kepler Survey, a 50-night campaign with the Keck telescope to understand the properties of planet host stars and thereby better understand the planets themselves. I also work on the K2 mission, the remarkable second life of the Kepler Space Telescope. 

In my free time, I go on bike rides, skate the streets of LA, and play soccer for the Cambrian Explosion. I also play in a rock band called the Seventh Season with Konstantin Batygin and Chris Spaulding. Our bassist (Chris Rollins) just moved to Alaska (seriously), so if you can lay down some sweet baselines, let us know.​

ABOUT ME

Public talk at the 2017 San Francisco Wonderfest