UC Santa Cruz
Jonathan Fortney is an assistant professor in the department of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz. Previously he was a postdoctoral research fellow at NASA Ames from 2004-2007. Dr. Fortney received his PhD in Planetary Sciences from the University of Arizona in 2004. He was born and raised near St. Paul, MN, and got a BS degree in physics from Iowa State University in 1999. He is a planetary scientist that works to understand planets as a class of astrophysical objects. His current research is on modeling giant planet atmospheres, interiors, and thermal evolution. In his work on extrasolar giant planets he makes connections between these distant planets, which we are just beginning to understand, and Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, for which we have abundant data and a long history of research. For the Kepler Mission, Dr. Fortney is charged with two main tasks. These are interpreting the detection of light from the close-in "hot Jupiter" planets, to help constrain the structure and composition of their atmospheres, as well modeling the mass-radius relations of planets that Kepler detects, in order to shed light on the interior structure and composition of these planets.