New members of PlanetS
Ravit Helled is a new professor at the University of Zurich and is going to replace Prof. Michael Meyer in the academic platform of PlanetS. “I am working with people who are involved in different PlanetS projects, and my main interests are linked to theory of planet formation, evolution, and internal structure,” she explains. Ravit Helled got her PhD from Tel-Aviv University in 2008, then she spent four years at UCLA as a postdoc and a researcher. In 2011 she started a professor position at Tel-Aviv University, before she came to Zurich in June 2016.
Nadine Afram is the new coordinator of the academic platform and responsible for gender equity and the training of young researchers. “My most important goal is to ensure that young NCCR PlanetS researchers, both women and men from diverse backgrounds, obtain the professional training required for advancing their individual careers,” she says. Nadine Afram has been a Postdoc in Astrophysics for several years and also worked as a maths high school teacher. “Both paths led me to search for a position in which I could use both experiences and help young scientists advance their careers,” she explains.
José Almenara joined the NCCR PlanetS on July 1, 2016 as senior researcher for Project 7 “Planet Properties & System Architectures at the University of Geneva. “My work at PlanetS is modelling of multi-planetary systems,” he explains. Before coming to Switzerland, José Almenara worked at the “Institut de Planètologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble” (IPAG) for ExTra (Exoplanets in Transits and their Atmospheres), a project to search for Earth-size planets transiting the brightest and nearest M dwarfs, funded by the European Research Council and the French Agence National de la Recherche.
Emily Rickman has also just started at the University of Geneva. She is a PhD student. “My work at PlanetS involves direct imaging exoplanets around young stars in the mid-infrared using NaCo,” she summarizes: “This constitutes a high contrast imaging survey of nearby stars with debris disks in order to detect and characterise giant planets in wide orbits.” Emily Rickman is from the UK originally and studied her Masters at the University of Sheffield involving research in characterising binary systems. She also previously studied at the Australian National University involving analysing Kepler K2 data.
Besides working, what is the new members’ favourite activity on a hot summer day?
Ravit Helled: “Swimming in a beautiful lake and eating ice cream.”
Nadine Afram: “I enjoy sitting in the sun with a good book (preferably a mystery/crime story) surrounded by a selection of delicious snacks.”
José Almenara: “Go to the mountain.“
Emily Rickman: “My favourite activity on a hot summer day is going for a long hike and relaxing in the evening in the garden.”