G’day, I’m Jake Clark, a Fulbright Future Scholar and PhD Candidate based within the Centre for Astrophysics. Growing up in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, I was fascinated with the night sky. Coming from a blue-collar, low socio-economic background, I didn’t have any role models around me who had even finished high school, let alone go to university. But, that never stopped me from chasing my dreams of being an astronaut… turns out, I’m a bit too tall to be one though! So, I’ve become an astronomer instead.
After completing my Honours in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Adelaide, I ran away and joined the circus – The Questacon Science Circus, obtaining my Master’s in Science Communication Outreach with the Australian National University. I’m currently a final-year PhD Candidate, with my dissertation being centred around how we can use galactic archaeology surveys for exoplanetary science. I’m also a science communicator, removing the barriers to STEM engagement across the Darling Downs and beyond.
My PhD is trying to work out how we can utilise galactic archaeology surveys, typically used for understanding our galaxy’s formation and evolution, for exoplanetary science! I have curated the GALAH–TESS catalog, which has over 45,000 stars within it being observed by NASA’s new planet-finding mission TESS. This catalog contains vital physical and chemical parameters which will help planetary astrophysicists, like myself, determine the geological and chemical compositions of rocky worlds hosted by these stars. By knowing what planets are made from, we can then better gauge their potential habitability to further characterise with telescopes like JWST or Twinkle.
I’m also interested in trying to answer these questions: Are rocky worlds like ours common throughout the galaxy, including the thick disc and halo? At what metallicity do we stop finding planets? Can we use chemical abundances to forward predict what types of planets stars are likely to host? I’ve also been involved with discovering exoplanets using both radial velocity and transit photometry techniques and refining known exoplanetary systems, among other things. If my research piques your interest, please get in touch!
- Exoplanet Characterisation
- Exoplanetary Compositions
- Galactic Archaeology
- Exoplanet Detection
- Stellar Catalogs
Mr Clark’s publications can be viewed here