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.
EAPS Postdoctoral Associate with an MKI AffiliationPostdoctoral Scholar
Clara is a molecular astrophysicist and science communicator. Clara lived in Scotland from 2005 to 2010 where she did her undergraduate and masters degrees at the University of Edinburgh. For her masters thesis, Clara studied the dynamic effect of death of a star on its planetary system. In 2011 she moved to London and joined the ExoMol project (University College London) as a PhD student under the supervision of Professor Jonathan Tennyson. For her PhD, Clara simulated the spectra for the phosphine molecule with unprecedented breadth and accuracy.
In September 2016 Clara joined MIT as a post-doc in the EAPS (MIT) department working with Sara Seager. In the two years before Clara left London for Massachusetts, she was the Educational Co-ordinator for the Twinkle Space Mission and founder of EduTwinkle, the mission's educational program. As part of EduTwinkle, Clara ran the ORBYTS (Original Research By Young Twinkle Students), where students from state schools worked along scientists to produce original research associated with space exploration. The first of the associated scientific articles has now been published (see McKemmish et al below) with three of the kids as co-authors.
Clara's interests lie in the molecular characterization of extra-solar planets and making science a more inclusive world, particularly for girls. Clara's ultimate goal is to find a habitable planet outside the Solar System by working with a large, inclusive and diverse team of scientists. For her part, Clara wants to understand alien atmospheres by developing a sophisticated understanding of the impact different molecules have on an atmosphere’s spectra.