SF State's Star Faculty
Barranco, whose research focuses on testing theoretical models of extrasolar planet formation, is among the first to employ three-dimensional computer modeling of planet evolution. Like Fischer, he is an advisor to NASA's Space Interferometry Mission, which aims to detect Earth-sized planets orbiting nearby stars.
Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Cool was one of the first to penetrate Omega Centauri, a dense swarm of stars 17,000 light years from earth, showing what happens when stars collide. She has discovered new types of binary star systems and her star images have appeared in National Geographic and The New York Times.
As one of the world's top extrasolar planet astronomers, Fischer has helped discover more than 150 of the 250-plus planets found outside our solar system, including the largest extrasolar planet system to date. Her next stop in the galaxy: discovering an Earth-like planet.
Working with NASA and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, Mahdavi made headlines last year when he illuminated stunning new characteristics of dark matter -- the mysterious, invisible framework of the universe. His research challenges conventional models of dark matter behavior, but provides new insight into cosmic evolution.
A member of several high-profile NASA research teams, Marzke discovered that galaxy formation is speedier than expected, challenging current models of life after the Big Bang. As a review panel member for major telescopes and science agencies, he helps determine the direction of galactic research nationwide.
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