Michael recently completed his undergraduate degree in Honours Cooperative Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo. He has been awarded an Institute for Research on Exoplanets 2021 Trottier Excellence Grant for Summer Interns from May 2021 to August 2021 under Dr. Jason Rowe at Bishop’s University. During this time, Michael will be working to improve transit signal isolation from background/systematic noise on the Kepler dataset’s best life-bearing habitable planet candidates orbiting G-type stars. It should be noted that as a G-type star, our Sun serves as evidence that planets orbiting stars of this type can be habitable and can support life. Some candidate systems that have been studied will provide false evidence of transiting planets when only white noise is considered. His project will allow us to better identify which planetary candidates are likely to exist and which are likely the result of coloured noise. The best of these planet candidates will receive priority for follow-up observations from the James Webb Space Telescope and other facilities in order to confirm their existence and to allow for future study of these potentially life-bearing habitable exoplanets around stars similar to our own.
Michael intends to pursue his Master’s and PhD degrees in the field of exoplanetary studies. Specifically, he would like to find a career in the detection and classification of exoplanets, with a focus on habitable bodies. His career goal is to search for suitable worlds that future generations might one day colonize and, in the process, keep an eye out for signs of life and other civilizations. By building on the works of past generations of scientists, Michael hopes to do his part in a project that is larger than any one person and will be content in knowing that those who come after him will be able to build upon his life’s work.
Director: Jason Rowe