Seen & Heard

A selection of must reads about Dartmouth alumni making news around the world.
Abby Burrows ’23

“Messy Stellar Jitters”

Burrows, a physics & astronomy major who now works as a business analyst at McKinsey, was the lead author on a study that’s getting attention for its connection to Star Trek. “The Death of Vulcan: NEID Reveals That the Planet Candidate Orbiting HD 26965 Is Stellar Activity*” was just published in The Astronomical Journal this year but is based on research that Burrows did as an intern at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory from 2021-2022, where she worked with the lab’s solar physics team on detecting earth-like exoplanets around sun-like stars. NEID is an instrument they used to measure radial velocity, which tracks subtle shifts in starlight.

The study found that a possible exoplanet orbiting the star HD 26965 (40 Eridani A) is most likely not a planet but rather “messy stellar jitters masquerading as a planet,” according to Sci News. The fake planet in question happens to match the characteristics of Mr. Spock’s fictional home planet, Vulcan, in the Star Trek universe.

“While the new finding, at least for now, robs the star 40 Eridani A of its possible planet Vulcan, the news isn’t all bad,” Burrows said. “The demonstration of such finely tuned radial velocity measurements holds out the promise of making sharper observational distinctions between actual planets and the shakes and rattles on surfaces of distant stars.”

Portfolio

Norman Maclean ’24, the Undergraduate Years
An excerpt from “Norman Maclean: A Life of Letters and Rivers”
One of a Kind
Author Lynn Lobban ’69 confronts painful past.
Trail Blazer

Lis Smith ’05 busts through campaign norms and glass ceilings as she goes all in to get her candidate in the White House. 

John Merrow ’63
An education journalist on the state of our schools

Recent Issues

May-June 2024

May-June 2024

March - April 2024

March - April 2024

January-February 2024

January-February 2024

November-December 2023

November-December 2023

September-October 2023

September-October 2023

July-August 2023

July-August 2023