Maurice Wilson is a 1st year graduate student working with Prof John Johnson and Dr. Jason Eastman on characterizing Earth-like exoplanets around our nearest stars. Maurice began collaborating with Prof Johnson and Dr. Eastman in 2015 as an undergraduate summer intern of the newly founded Banneker Institute at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He proudly credits the Banneker Institute for preparing him—as a senior undergraduate—for graduate school academically through the daily classes, professionally through the exoplanet research experience and emotionally through the social justice curriculum. By the end of the internship, he was deeply immersed into the exoplanet research that he continues to work on now. By observing the brightest stars in the night sky with the MINiature Exoplanet Radial Velocity Array (MINERVA), Maurice obtains photometry and radial velocities both with the high precision necessary to characterize rocky exoplanets with radii similar to the Earth’s radius.
During his summer and winter breaks, Maurice presents his research and teaches youth about astronomy at the Adler Planetarium in his hometown of Chicago. He also teaches a variety of scientific concepts via his blog, which is geared towards lay(wo)men outside of the scientific community. Aside from blogging, Maurice likes to dance Salsa and Bachata in his spare time.