Ian Crossfield

Assistant Professor of Physics
Research focuses on the atmospheric characterization of extrasolar planets (“exoplanets”) through all possible methods from the ground and from space.

Research Interests

My research focuses on the atmospheric characterization of extrasolar planets (“exoplanets”) through all possible methods — transits, eclipses, phase curves, and direct imaging — from the ground and from space. I’m also interested in the discovery of new exoplanets, especially those whose atmospheres we can study in more detail. My work has led to hundreds of validated planets from NASA’s K2 mission; the first atmospheric spectroscopy of multiple extrasolar ice giants and super-Earths; and the first 2D surface map of any substellar object beyond the Solar System. I recently wrote a definitive review of exoplanetary atmospheres; have conducted numerous test studies of the exoplanet capabilities of giant, next-generation telescopes; have coordinated multiple research collaborations using ground- and space-based facilities; and have mentored undergraduate and graduate students in papers on these topics.

Biographic Sketch

After receiving an undergrad Physics degree I worked as an Optical & Systems Engineer at NASA/JPL for three years on projects such as the Gemini Planet Imager, the Space Interferometry Mission, and the Thirty Meter Telescope (whose Wikipedia page I created). While at JPL I decided I would rather use telescopes than build them for other people, so I got my PhD in Astrophysics across town at UCLA under Prof. Brad Hansen. After that I spend two wonderful years as a Planet & Star Formation Fellow at the MPIA in Heidelberg, Germany; two warmer years as a NASA Sagan Fellow at UA’s Lunar and Planetary Lab in Tucson, AZ; and stints as a Sagan Fellow and Associate Researcher at UC Santa Cruz. From there I headed East to Cambridge to begin the next phase of my life with MIT.

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Awards & Honors

  • 2015 // Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow
  • 2014 // NASA Sagan Fellowship
  • 2013 // Doxsey Prize
  • 2011-12 // UCLA Dissertation Year Fellow
  • 2010 // AAS Chambliss Student Achievement Award
  • 2009 // AAS Chambliss Student Achievement Award
  • 2009 // Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship
  • 2008 // Honorable Mention, NSF Graduate Student Research Fellowship
  • 2008 // UCLA Department of Astronomy First Year Graduate Student Summer Fellowship
  • 2007-09 // UCLA Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics Graduate Fellowship
  • 2007 // Jet Propulsion Laboratory: SIM: PlanetQuest Outstanding Performance Award (×2)
  • 2004 // Outstanding Senior in Physics, UC Irvine Physics Department
  • 2003 // Herbert H. Chen Award (Outstanding Junior), UC Irvine Physics Department
  • 2003 // Elected to Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Pi Sigma

Key Publications

  • Crossfield, Ian J. M.; Ciardi, D.R.; Petigura, E.A.; Sinukoff, E.; Schlieder, J.E.; Howard, A.W.; Beichman, C.A.; Isaacson, H.; Dressing, C.D.; Christiansen, J.L.; Fulton, B.J.; Lepine, S.; Weiss, L.; Hirsch, L.; Livingston, J.; Baranec, C.; Law, N. M.; Riddle, R.; Ziegler, C.; Howell, S.B.; Horch, E.; Everett, M.; Teske, J.; Martinez, A.O.; Obermeier, C.; Benneke, B.; Scott, N.; Deacon, N.; Aller, K.M.; Hansen, B.M.S.; Mancini, L.; Ciceri, S.; Brahm, R.; Jordan, A.; Knutson, H.A.; Henning, Th.; Bonnefoy, M.; Liu, M.C.; Crepp, J.R.; Lothringer, J.; Hinz, P.; Bailey, V.; Skemer, A.; Defrere, D.; 197 Candidates and 104 Validated Planets from K2’s First Year, ApJS, 2016, in press.

  • Crossfield, Ian J. M.; Biller, B.; Schlieder, J. E.; Deacon, N. R.; Bonnefoy, M.; Homeier, D.; Allard, F.; Buenzli, E.; Henning, Th.; Brandner, W.; Goldman, B.; Kopytova, T. A Global Cloud Map of the Nearest Known Brown Dwarf. 2014, Nature, 505, 654.

  • Crossfield, Ian J. M. Observations of Exoplanet Atmospheres, 2015, PASP, 127, 941.