Interview with Kate Rubin

Q: Can you describe your research goals?

My main goal is to understand how the flow of gas into and out of galaxies affects galaxy evolution. I hope make progress toward this goal by developing observational constraints on the mass, energetics, and spatial distribution of the gas around galaxies, and how these gas properties change over cosmic time.

Q: How much interaction do you have with other divisions within the CfA?

I interact primarily with those working on galaxy formation in the ITC and with the OIR division. I attend meetings and seminars hosted by both of these groups, and so find myself discussing science frequently with those outside of my own (OIR) division.

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

I have very much enjoyed the generous access to optical telescopes that is available at the CfA, including both Magellan and the MMT. This access has made it possible to substantially improve the statistical power of the projects I'm pursuing. I've also benefited greatly from the theoretical expertise of many CfA community members.

Q: What advice would you provide for a first-year Clay Fellow?

Don't be afraid to leave your office and introduce yourself! Because there are so many astronomers at the CfA, it can be difficult to make connections, but if you put yourself out there, you won't regret it.

Q: How much independence do you have with a Clay Fellowship?

I have complete research independence. I am free to continue work with collaborators I've joined with elsewhere, and to work with anyone here at the CfA.

Q: How has your particular research area evolved since you have arrived at the CfA?

I have continued to work on many of the projects I was pursuing prior to arriving in Cambridge, as CfA observing facilities have been ideal for furthering these programs. I have also become involved in a few new projects, having recently joined the SDSSIV collaboration and begun detailed discussions of comparisons between my observational findings and work by CfA theorists.

Q: What is a typical day like for you?

On a typical day, I might reduce data or prepare for an observing run, write some code to analyze data or make figures, attend a talk, meet with colleagues here at the CfA or elsewhere (by telecon), or work on writing (either a paper or proposal). It's a pretty great gig!

Q: How would you describe the community at the CfA in terms of social activity?

There are many opportunities for socializing with the CfA community, from division tea and coffee meetings to postdoc pizza socials. All you have to do is show up.

Q: What type of position would you like to have upon completion of your fellowship?

I love doing research, and I also think it would be a lot of fun to mentor younger researchers as they embark on their careers. So, I aim to gain a permanent position that would allow me to pursue these activities, at a research university or observatory.


Clay Fellow Warren Brown