Lucianne Walkowicz works on NASA's Kepler mission, studying starspots and "the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares."

Why you should listen

Lucianne Walkowicz studies the inscrutable faces of the stars for clues to the inner workings of their hearts. She got her taste for astronomy as an undergrad at Johns Hopkins, testing detectors for the Hubble Space Telescope’s new camera (installed in 2002). She also learned to love the dark stellar denizens of our galaxy, the red dwarfs, which became the topic of her PhD dissertation at University of Washington. Nowadays, she works on NASA’s Kepler mission, studying starspots and the tempestuous tantrums of stellar flares to understand stellar magnetic fields. She is particularly interested in how the high energy radiation from stars influences the habitability of planets around alien suns. Lucianne is also a leader in the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope, a new project that will scan the sky every night for 10 years to create a huge cosmic movie of our Universe.

What others say

“Walkowicz's project is also working to understand the nature of dark energy ("We're going to find things we don't understand") ...” — David Rowan, Wired UK

Lucianne Walkowicz’s TED talks

Lucianne Walkowicz on the TED Blog

Quotes from Lucianne Walkowicz

In just over two years of operations, we’ve found over 1,200 potential new planetary systems around other stars.
Lucianne Walkowicz
TEDGlobal 2011 • 914K views Aug 2011
Informative, Fascinating
It’s really the starlight that sets the stage for the formation of life in the universe.
Lucianne Walkowicz
TEDGlobal 2011 • 914K views Aug 2011
Informative, Fascinating