Interview with Hagai Perets

Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your 3 years as a CfA Postdoctoral Fellow?

I plan to make progress in various ways; I hope to become a better researcher and establish myself in various fields, mostly as a dynamicist working on planet formation, as well as continue my research and expanding into additional new fields. I also hope to develop many working collaborations in these fields both inside and outside the CfA.

Q: What is best thing about working at the CfA?

The best thing about the CfA is the people of course. It's a huge place so you may be overwhelmed on the one hand; however, if you see the advantages of it, it can become an amazing experience. You can always find really nice people to talk, collaborate, work, and learn from on a wide variety of subjects that you may be interested in.

Q: Is there some element about the CfA that may be surprising to those who have never spent time here as a researcher?

I think that the most surprising thing for me was the many informal events that take place in the CfA in which you can meet people and know them outside their research field.

Q: What types of new collaborations have you formed since starting your residence at CfA?

I try to form collaboration with anyone who agrees! I really enjoy working with others and so I work both with post-docs and faculty as well as supervise summer students. I work with people from different departments, both with observers and theoreticians. Basically this is why I came to the CfA: for the never-ending possibilities to collaborate and meet new people.

Q: What is the focus and direction of your research?

I see myself mainly as a dynamicist, working on gravitational dynamics at all scales, from Solar system dynamics of asteroids and planetesimals, to massive black holes and galaxy structure. However, I can never resist working on other fields; everything in astrophysics is so interesting, so although you have to choose, I do try to work on many fields outside my main field of dynamics. Still, I would really like to make planet formation much better understood, which I guess is my main focus at this stage.

Q: How have the facilities and personnel resources at the CfA furthered your research project?

As mentioned before - people are the best thing about the CfA and are the most important resource. Of course, I make use of the great computational facilities here as well as the archives and library; the quality of latter resources you can only find here, and that's a great improvement over anywhere else I've been.

Q: What is a typical day like for you?

After taking my kids to kindergarten, I bike by the Charles river to work. In the office, I go through emails and then go over the astro-ph and recent literature. Sometimes, I find papers which make me think about an interesting idea and I continue to go through papers in the ADS, sometimes almost randomly following my thread of ideas and thoughts. On other days, I work on specific ideas, develop the analytic understanding or analyze observations or simulations data. Some days, I just work on writing up the papers and making appropriate figures, etc. Almost every day I go and find people to discuss some ideas or thoughts. Two to four-times a week, I go to lectures or meet with some of the many visitors in the CfA.

Q: What is like to live and work in the Cambridge area?

Cambridge and the Boston area are great, both in terms of family and kids' activities. Also, in terms of cultural and social life, not to mention all the beautiful places you can go visit for recreation, hiking, biking, etc.

Q: What has been the highlight of your first year at the CfA?

Although I really enjoyed the science - as well as the meetings and discussions - with the amazing people here, the highlight of this first year was teaching my daughter to bike without assisting wheels - that was the best!

Clay Fellow Warren Brown