Speakers: Ryan Hill (MIT Economics) and Maximilian Guenther

Date: 
Friday, October 12, 12:00pm
Location: 
Marlar Lounge 37-252

Papers to be discussed: TBA

Ryan Hill (MIT Department of Economics): Hill, R., Searching for Superstars: Research Risk and Talent Discovery in Astronomy

Abstract:
What is the role of luck in the careers of scientists? Since the production of science is inherently risky, the allocation of resources, promotions, and publications may be based on noisy signals of ability. Therefore, success might be path dependent, such that lucky breaks early in the career are amplified into future recognition and opportunities. I seek to quantify the short- and long-run effects of exogenous project success and failure in the context of academic astronomy. Using weather conditions during telescope viewing sessions, I test whether project-level shocks have a lasting effect on publication and citation rates. I find that idiosyncratic weather quality significantly impacts publication rates for novice astronomers, but does not affect publication rates for veteran astronomers. These effects persist for 5-6 years before diminishing. This is driven in part by spillovers to unrelated projects, suggesting that lucky breaks are amplified into future opportunities. Receiving a good weather shock has no detectable effect on the probability of exiting academia.

 and

Maximilian Günther: Günther, M.N. et al., Unmasking the hidden NGTS-3Ab: a hot Jupiter in an unresolved binary system, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 478, Issue 4, 21 August 2018, Pages 4720–4737, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/sty1193

Abstract:
We present the discovery of NGTS-3Ab, a hot Jupiter found transiting the primary star of an unresolved binary system. We develop a joint analysis of multicolour photometry, centroids, radial velocity (RV) cross-correlation function (CCF) profiles, and their bisector inverse slopes (BIS) to disentangle this three-body system. Data from the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS), SPECULOOS and HARPS are analysed and modelled with our new BLENDFITTERsoftware. We find that the binary consists of NGTS-3A (G6V-dwarf) and NGTS-3B (K1V-dwarf) at <1 arcsec separation. NGTS-3Ab orbits every 1.675 d. The planet radius and mass are Rplanet = 1.48 ± 0.37 RJ and Mplanet = 2.38 ± 0.26 MJ, suggesting it is potentially inflated. We emphasize that only combining all the information from multicolour photometry, centroids and RV CCF profiles can resolve systems like NGTS-3. Such systems cannot be disentangled from single-colour photometry and RV measurements alone. Importantly, the presence of a BIS correlation indicates a blend scenario, but is not sufficient to determine which star is orbited by the third body. Moreover, even if no BIS correlation is detected, a blend scenario cannot be ruled out without further information. The choice of methodology for calculating the BIS can influence the measured significance of its correlation. The presented findings are crucial to consider for wide-field transit surveys, which require wide CCD pixels (>5 arcsec) and are prone to contamination by blended objects. With TESS on the horizon, it is pivotal for the candidate vetting to incorporate all available follow-up information from multicolour photometry and RV CCF profiles.