The MIT Kavli Institute paves the way for new developments in space- & ground-based astrophysics. Our faculty, research staff, and students develop technology & instrumentation with a focus on an engineering and technical core.
Researchers at The Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research explore extreme and unusual phenomena found beyond the Earth including extrasolar planets, black holes, neutron stars, and distant galaxies and clusters of galaxies.
October 13, 2015 L'Oréal USA announces that Sarah Ballard, MKI's newly arrived MIT Torres Postdoctoral Fellow, has been awarded a fellowship in the 2015 L'Oréal For Women in Science program.
Sarah Ballard earned her bachelor's degree in Astrophysics from UC Berkeley in 2007, graduated from Harvard's PhD program in Astronomy & Astrophysics in 2012, and completed a NASA Carl Sagan fellowship at the University of Washington in 2015. She is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sarah cares deeply about creating a inclusive scientific culture within astronomy: one with equitable policies that allow all individuals to thrive. She has authored articles on parental leave, values affirmation, the intelligence of groups, incentivizing self-care in academia, and practices for allyship. Sarah designed and runs an impostor syndrome workshop, which she has delivered to departments across the country. She is also one-half of the podcast "Self-care with Drs. Sarah," which addresses practices for navigating and surviving within academic science.
Sarah Ballard's research focuses upon planets orbiting other stars. Her science program is twofold: first, she places individual exoplanets under a microscope. She measures the properties of their host stars finely, leveraging measurements from asteroseismology and interferometry, to infer detailed information about the planetary sizes and compositions. She also applies a more wide-field lens to the known ensemble of exoplanets, particularly those orbiting stars smaller than half our Sun's mass. She investigates the architectural properties of planetary systems as a whole, and explores the links between the dynamics of planetary systems, their similarities and dissimilarities to the Solar System, and their potential habitability.