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.
Dr. George Ricker is the TESS Principal Investigator currently Director of the CCD Laboratory in the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research. Since 1971, Dr. Ricker has been a member of the staff and faculty at MIT, where he presently serves as Senior Research Scientist. He received his undergraduate degree from MIT in physics. He obtained an M.S. in astronomy from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in physics from MIT.
Dr. Ricker was the Principal Investigator (PI) for the international High Energy Transient Explorer (HETE) mission–a small satellite incorporating instruments from France, Japan, and the US–which was successfully launched on 9 October 2000. HETE is the first satellite mission entirely devoted to the study of gamma-ray bursts (GRBs). Dr. Ricker was also the PI for the CCD Solid State Imaging Spectrometer (SIS) on the Japan-US ASCA mission (successfully launched on 1993), and is Deputy-PI for the Chandra X-ray Observatory Advanced CCD Imaging Spectrometer (ACIS; launched in 1999), and was the US PI for the X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (XIS) CCD Camera on the Japan-US Astro-E1 mission. He leads the Reflection Grating Focal Plane Camera Study Team for Constellation-X, and he is a member of the NASA Facility Science Team for that proposed mission.
Dr. Ricker has published more than 300 papers in astronomy, high energy astrophysics, and experimental physics.