TED Fellow Erika Hamden builds telescopes, with a focus on the ultraviolet, and develops sensor technology to make telescopes more efficient.

Why you should listen

Dr. Erika Hamden is a professor of astrophysics at the University of Arizona. Her observational focus is on measuring and mapping diffuse hydrogen around galaxies and within star forming regions in our own galaxy. Her current projects include FIREBall, a UV balloon-borne telescope; KCRM, a spectrograph for the Keck telescope; and Hyperion, a UV space telescope she is currently developing. Her work is driven by a desire to know and understand more about the universe around us.

Hamden received a bachelor's from Harvard in 2006 and a PhD from Columbia in 2014, both in astrophysics. She has held an NSF Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow and the R.A. and G.B. Millikan Prize Postdoctoral Fellow in Experimental Physics at the Caltech. She was awarded a Nancy Grace Roman Technology Fellowship for her detector work in 2016. She worked as a chef for a year before beginning grad school and has a serious yoga practice.

Erika Hamden’s TED talk

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