Alexander Binks earned his B. Sc. in Physics with Astrophysics with first-class honours at the University of Exeter (UK) and his Ph. D in Astrophysics at Keele University (UK). His thesis entitled “Identifying and characterising young, nearby, low-mass members of stellar moving groups” culminated in several lead-author publications, including work that identified a lithium depletion boundary in the nearby Beta Pictoris Moving Group, amassing several hundreds of citations in peer-reviewed journal articles.
He was awarded a postdoctoral fellowship at the Instituto de Radioastronomia y Astrofisica (IRYA) in Morelia, Mexico, followed by a two-year Becario fellowship at the same institute, where he developed methods to identify young stars from large astronomical surveys and participated in astronomy outreach programs for disadvantaged schools across the state of Michoacan. He was then employed at Keele University as an STFC-funded postdoctoral research associate. The highlights of his work during this post included: finding a large population of nearby, young stars that are not linked with any known stellar ensemble, identifying a lithium depletion boundary in the NGC2232 cluster and using large-scale astronomical surveys of stellar clusters to provide rigourous tests for evolutionary models.
His current work, being undertaken at MIT, is primarily focused on discovering phenomonological features of young stars in a variety of star-forming regions using 100 orbits of Hubble Space Telescope data. Using his expertise in pre-processing high-resolution images and analysing photometric data, he is currently developing techniques to identify new stellar jets and outflows, exemplars of strongly-accreting protoplanetary disks, binary and multiple systems and the low-mass populations that have, to date, evaded detection.
He is the lead target selection strategist on the 4SYS project — a large community service proposal for the 4MOST spectroscopic mission on the VISTA telescope (Chile), has developed automated pipelines for measuring stellar rotation periods long-cadence TESS lightcurves and continues to host regular public astronomy outreach events for people of all ages.