Geoffrey W. Marcy
University of California, Berkeley
Election Year: 2002
Primary Section: 12, Astronomy
Membership Type: Member
My research involves the discovery of planets that orbit other stars. My team is measuring the masses and orbits of other planets, with the goal of understanding the origin and architecture of planetary systems. We have learned that planets orbit at least 10 percent of all stars and that nature makes more small planets than large ones. The orbits are often not circular, defying our expectation based on the nearly circular orbits of the planets that orbit the Sun. We plan to learn whether our Solar System is a common or rare type of planetary system, and hence learn whether habitable planets are numerous in our Milky Way galaxy.