Dr. Oppenheimer is a comparative exoplanetary scientist: she studies planets orbiting stars other than the Sun. This nascent field is so young that much of the work involves developing the techniques needed to see these planets, so that their light can be dissected and analyzed. Her optics laboratory in the Rose Center is the birthplace of a number of new astronomical instruments designed to tackle this problem. In March 2004, Dr. Oppenheimer deployed the world's most sensitive coronagraph at the AEOS Telescope in Maui. See lyot.org for more information. In June 2008, her team deployed an even more precise and sensitive exoplanet imaging system at the Palomar Observatory. This instrument is called Project 1640 and involves researchers at AMNH, Cambridge, Caltech, and NASA/JPL. All of these instrumentation efforts, as well as several others including the starlight suppression system for the International Gemini Observatory Planet Imager project (GPI), were conducted in Oppenheimer's lab in the Rose Center at AMNH.
And oh by the way Dr. Oppenheimer is a transgender woman and I paraphrase: or a woman who happened to be made to live as Ben. And what if gender wasn't an issue anyhow?
An idea we have pondered for most of out lives! For whatever reason, I could not come up with much of a link for his show tonight. You are on your own this time.