Nikole K. Lewis

Sagan Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Earth, Atmospheric,
and Planetary Sciences
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue, 54-1726
Cambridge, MA 02139

Nikole Lewis received her PhD in planetary sciences from the University of Arizona in 2012. She grew up in Lafayette, IN before heading to Worcester Polytechnic Institute to earn a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering and physics. After continuing on to earn a masters degree in astronomy from Boston University, she spent a few years working in industry as a systems engineer before deciding to pursue a doctorate in planetary sciences. Dr. Lewis currently lives with her husband and daughter in the greater Boston area.

Dr. Lewis' work at the University of Arizona with exoplanet atmospheric models has provided the perfect outlet for her diverse background. She is especially interested in characterizing exoplanet atmospheres by combining information from observations and theoretical models. She hopes that through her research efforts we will better understand the physical processes at work in the atmospheres of planets outside of our solar system.

As a Sagan Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Lewis will use sophisticated three-dimensional atmospheric models to explore the interplay between dynamical, radiative and chemical processes in exoplanet atmospheres. She will investigate the impact of disequilibrium chemistry, carbon-rich/poor atmospheric abundances, and clouds on exoplanet global scale winds, thermal patterns, and observable flux variations. The goal of this project is to aid in the interpretation of observations aimed at the characterization of exoplanet atmospheres, which have already revealed a great diversity in exoplanet atmospheric chemistry.