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Postdoctoral Research Position in Astrochemistry

October 3, 2022

The Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian invites applications for a postdoctoral research position to work with Professor Karin Öberg in astrochemistry. The Öberg astrochemistry group explores the origins of chemical complexity in space and how chemistry affects star and planet formation, including the bulk and organic compositions of young planets. The successful applicant will lead and participate in laboratory, theoretical and/or observational projects in line with this mission. They will work with Professor Öberg to develop new programs, support existing ones, and...

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planetary disk

The James Webb Space Telescope will be astrochemists’ newest and most powerful tool

November 7, 2021

Delayed for more than a decade, the world’s next flagship space telescope will launch in December, giving scientists an unprecedented view of chemistry around the galaxy

JWST will provide scientists with new ways to study gas-phase molecules in protoplanetary disks that they’ve previously monitored with other telescopes, like the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) in Chile. Above Earth’s atmosphere, the JWST will observe vibrational signatures of molecules, like water, that ALMA cannot. And the JWST’s bigger...

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Conditions That Triggered Life On Earth Could Exist More Widely Across The Milky Way Say Scientists In Landmark Study (Forbes)

September 16, 2021

The dust and gas where planets form have been mapped in extraordinary detail around five nearby young stars—and astronomers have found organic molecules that are implicated in the emergence of life on Earth.

The findings suggest that the basic chemical conditions that resulted in life on Earth could exist more widely across the Milky Way, according to Dr John Ilee, Research Fellow at the University of Leeds who lead a project called Molecules with ALMA at Planet-forming Scales (MAPS).

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamiecartereurope/2021/09/16/conditions-that-...

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In this artists conception, planets form from the gas and dust in the protoplanetary disk surrounding a young star.

Planets Form in Organic Soups with Different Ingredients

September 15, 2021

Cambridge, MA -- Astronomers have mapped out the chemicals inside of planetary nurseries in extraordinary detail. The newly unveiled maps reveal the locations of dozens of molecules within five protoplanetary disks — regions of dust and gas where planets form around young stars.

"These planet-forming disks are teeming with organic molecules, some which are implicated in the origins of life here on Earth," explains Karin Öberg, an astronomer at the Center for Astrophysics |...

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Alumna Jane Huang Receives Robert J. Trumpler Award for ‘Iconic’ Thesis

August 25, 2021

Former Center for Astrophysics researcher Jane Huang is the recipient of the 2021 Robert J. Trumpler Award. The award is presented annually by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) to a recent PhD recipient whose research is considered unusually important to astronomy. 

Huang earned a PhD in astrophysics from Harvard in 2020 under the mentorship of Sean Andrews and Karin Öberg. Her dissertation, “Rings and Spirals in Protoplanetary Disks: the ALMA View of...

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