Dr. Gibor Basri

Gibor Basri (GB) was born May 3, 1951 in New York City to Saul and Phyllis Basri. He grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, with younger brother David. Saul was a Physics professor at Colorado State Univ; Phyllis taught ballet and other dance. The family lived in Burma in 1957 and in Sri Lanka in 1965, both under Fullbright Lectureship appointments. GB attended Ft. Collins High School. He got a BSc in Physics from Stanford Univ. in 1973, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder in 1979. His thesis was on stellar activity under the direction of Prof. Jeffrey Linsky, and he was an early user of the IUE satellite. An award of a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship then brought him to Berkeley, where he has been ever since. Dr. Basri originally worked with Prof. Stu Bowyer on high energy observations of stellar activity, and Prof. Len Kuhi on newly forming stars. GB joined the faculty of the Berkeley Astronomy Dept. in 1982, received tenure in 1988, and became a full professor in 1994. His work in the 1980s concentrated on star formation and the study of T Tauri stars, as well as continuing studies of stellar activity. In the past decade he has continued work on these topics, as well as becoming a world expert in the study of brown dwarfs. He wrote an Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics article on "Observations of Brown Dwarfs" in 2000, and delivered a plenary lecture to the American Astronomical Society entitled "Brown Dwarfs: Up Close and Physical" in 2004. He has written numerous review articles, along with well over 100 technical publications. GB was awarded a Miller Research Professorship in 1997, and became a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer in 2000. He has served on committees helping to award major NASA and NSF grants and projects, and awarding time on the (world's largest) Keck telescopes. He is increasingly involved in science education, and encouraging the participation of minorities in science. His efforts in this, and on behalf of increasing diversity at the University, were recognized by the Chancellor's Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in 2006. He has served since 1998 on the Board of the Chabot Space and Science Center. In Dec. 2001, NASA selected the Kepler mission as one of its next Discovery missions. This mission has as its goal the discovery of extrasolar terrestrial planets, and the characterization of all planets in inner solar systems. GB is a Co-investigator on the mission; his main task is to understand the "noise" that stellar variability introduces into the photometric detection of extrasolar planetary transits (and to help extract the vast amount of stellar science that will be a bonus of the mission). GB became the Acting Chair for the Astronomy Dept. in 2006-07.

Broadcast 707 (Special Edition)

Professor Gibor Basri, Chair, Astronomy Department of UC Berkeley, was our special guest for this program. Our interview started with a quick assessment of the changes in astronomy over the past 26 years, the amount of time Professor Basri has been with the Berkeley Department of Astronomy. This is an interesting historical overview you will want to hear. We also talked about is role as a Co-Investigator on the NASA Kepler Mission designed to find Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone of other stars.

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