I am an astrophysicist working to understand our place in the Universe.
I study atmospheres, interior and formation of exoplanets and planets in our solar system.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I was always curious and knew I was going to be a scientist. I got my B.S. in Astronomy in 2007 from La Plata National University and received my PhD in 2011, studying formation of planetary systems as a CONICET graduate Fellow. From 2011 to 2014 I was a postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy, where I started studying chemistry in exoplanets’ atmospheres (rocky and giant planets).
I was at the Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur between 2015 and 2017 (as a Henri Poincaré Postdoctoral Fellow and later a CNES Postdoctoral Fellow), studing the interior structure of giant planets and as a part of the Juno mission science team.
In 2018 I started as an assistant professor at Leiden Observatory where I will continue studying (exo)planet atmospheres and their interiors, towards a better understanding of their origins.
My main interests are the study of (exo)planet interiors and their atmospheres as well as planetary (& satellites) systems formation
Throughout history we have wondered about the possible existence of worlds around other stars. We live in a privileged time, and for the first time we are able to answer that question. Today we have more than 4000 exoplanets found. Each new discovery highlights the stunning diversity of exoplanets and impacts on the perception and understanding of our own solar system. A better knowledge of exoplanets will lead us to understand how our own solar system formed, which are the conditions that best support life, and put our solar system in context in the Universe. I work together with a group of great PhD and master students on solar system and exoplanet research.
Teaching: I see teaching as a challenge and a way of learning. One needs to learn how to use student’s backgrounds, and lead them to develop curiosity and critical thinking. I have been teaching from 2005 until 2011, and started teaching my own course in 2018. I taught “Stellar Structure and Evolution” a course for master students in 2018 and 2019 and developed the course “Exoplanets: Interiors and Atmospheres” for master students at Leiden Observatory in 2020 (starting the new semester in February 2021!).
Outreach: One important part of my development as a scientist has been to stimulate interest and curiosity for science, sharing my research with the community and inspiring future scientists. I have presented more than 50 invited public colloquia and have been involved in numerous public activies since 2000. Some highlights:
2021: Talk for the LWSK (amateur club).
2021: Talk for the amateur club “Euroster” of Rotterdam.
2020: Outreach talk on Characterisation of Exoplanets for the program “Universiteit van Nederland” (recorded in a TV studio in MediaPark Hilversum). Watch it here.
2018: TEDx RiodelaPlata speaker, with more than 2500 people(!), at Colon theater, Buenos Aires Argentina. Watch it here (in Spanish).
2018: Member of the collaborators team of “Ciencia del Sur” - a website for science outreach in latinamerica.
I swim since I am a kid, started running about 7 years ago, and recently added biking and bouldering to my list of frequent sports. I now combine all that -all but bouldering- and train for triathlons.
Why? Because doing sports is good! It is not only good for your health, but it also helps to release stress, to improve efficiency, and to have a fresher mind at work. It helps you solving problems.
In cold rainy days it can be hard to go outside and train. To keep myself on check on such days, I always setup a goal (often a competition I want to run), which besides of being super fun, keeps my motivation high :)
Niels Bohrweg 2
2333 CA Leiden, The Netherlands