Debris Disks and the Search for Life.
I study different aspects of the debris disk phenomenon and transport and radial mixing in circumstellar disks, both in the Solar system and in extrasolar planetary systems, using radiative transfer and dynamical models and observations. My interests include the statistical properties of the disks as derived from debris disk surveys (e.g. frequency, dust temperature/location, temporal evolution, debris disk-planet correlation), the study of individual systems, the search for planets in protoplanetary and debris disks via direct detection, and the exchange of debris between our solar system and other planetary system. All these studies help us place our Solar system into context.
I am very involved in Public Outreach and Science Policy, making the public and in particular the policy-makers fully aware of the critical role science plays in their lives. Why? Because the national policymakers of an increasing number of countries, along with European leaders, have completely lost touch with the reality of research.
They have chosen to ignore the crucial contribution of a strong research sector to the economy, particularly needed in the countries more severely hit by the economic crisis. They have chosen to ignore that research does not follow political cycles; that long-term, sustainable R&D investment is critical because science is a long-distance race; that some of its fruits might be harvested now, but others may take generations to mature; that if we do not seed today, our children will not have the tools to face the challenges of tomorrow. They have chosen to ignore that public investment in R&D is an attractor of private investment; that in an “innovation State” like the United States over half of its economic growth has come from innovation with roots in basic research funded by the federal government. They have chosen to ignore that time and resources are required to train researchers. They have chosen to ignore that applied research is no more than the application of basic research and is not limited to research with short-term market impact. They have chosen to ignore how the scientific process works; that research requires experimentation and that not all experiments will be successful; that excellence is the tip of an iceberg that floats only because of the body of work beneath. They have chosen to ignore the critical synergy between research and education. And foremost, they have chosen to ignore that research does not only need to serve the economy but also increases knowledge and social welfare, including of those with no resources to pay the bill.
I am determined to remind them because their ignorance can cost us the future. My daughter's future. If you feel the same way, consider signing the petition They Have Chosen Ignorance (read its full tex here and its press coverage here).
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer the STScI.
Debris Disks and the Search for Life.
Hurgar el polvo interestelar en busca de otros mundos (Pere Estupinyá).
European Science Foundation demands retraction of criticism in Nature, threatens legal action.
Nature World View Editorial: A call to those who care about Europe’s science.
They Have Chosen Ignorance.
A wake up call to policy makers.
Han Elegido la Ignorancia.
Una llamada de atención a los líderes políticos.
Problems of Research in Spain.
La importancia de la investigación científica y sus perspectivas en España.
Round table discussion.
Is science contributing to the division of Europe or can it help secure a common future?
Articles written in El País.
Artículos escritos en El País.
Articles written in The Guardian.
Artículos escritos en The Guardian.