Carrie Nugent

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Carrie Nugent
Carrie Rosemary Nugent
Alma materUniversity of California, Los Angeles
Scientific career
InstitutionsInfrared Processing and Analysis Center
Olin College
ThesisSolar Radiation and Near-Earth Asteroids: Thermophysical Modeling and New Measurements of the Yarkovsky Effect (2013)
Doctoral advisorJean-Luc Margot

Carrie Nugent (born 1984) is an assistant professor of computational physics and planetary science at Olin College. She studies near-Earth objects. She is also a popular science communicator, and is a Senior TED Fellow. The asteroid 8801 Nugent was named after her.

Early life and education[edit]

Nugent studied at Mira Costa High School.[1] She earned an undergraduate degree in physics.[2] She studied geophysics at University of California, Los Angeles, and earned her PhD in 2013.[3] She was supervised by Jean-Luc Margot and investigated the Yarkovsky effect.[4] She served as an Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC) Fellow from 2015.[5] She worked at the Summer App Space, a Los Angeles based apprenticeship for people to learn programming whilst working on space projects.[6]

Research and career[edit]

Nugent worked with the Near-Earth Object part of the NASA Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, known as NEOWISE.[7][8] She was part of the Near-Earth Object Camera asteroid hunting teams.[9] For this, Nugent was awarded the NASA Group Achievement Award. She believes asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that we can prevent.[10] In 2015 she named an asteroid after Malala Yousafzai.[11]

Nugent joined the faculty at Olin College as an Assistant Professor of computational physics and planetary science in 2018.[12][13] She works on asteroid detection, and focuses on the identification of asteroids that could be a threat to Earth.[14]

Public engagement[edit]

Nugent was a AAAS Mass Media Fellow in 2008.[15] She was selected as a TED Fellow in 2016, and a Senior TED Fellow in 2018.[16] Nugent delivered a TED talk Adventures of an asteroid hunter at the TED conference in 2016.[17] After her TED talk, Nugent wrote the book Asteroid Hunters with Simon & Schuster.[18][19] The talk was also used in a TED-Ed video.[20] In her spare time she produces the podcast SpacePod.[21] The podcast involves short episodes (15 minute in length) featuring relaxed conversations with space explorers.[22] She serves as one of The Planetary Society experts.[23] A question about Nugent's research was once included in Jeopardy!.[24]

Awards and honours[edit]


Nugent, Carrie (2017). Asteroid Hunters. Simon & Schuster Ltd. ISBN 9781471162398.


  1. ^ a b "Hall Of Fame – My blog". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  2. ^ Hess, Peter. "Asteroid Hunter Carrie Nugent Is Trying to Save the World". Inverse. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  3. ^ "Biography of Carrie Nugent for Appearances, Speaking Engagements". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  4. ^ Nugent, Carolyn Rosemary (2013). Solar Radiation and Near-Earth Asteroids: Thermophysical Modeling and New Measurements of the Yarkovsky Effect (Thesis). UCLA.
  5. ^ "We must keep searching the sky!". IPAC. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  6. ^ "Instructors – Summer App Space". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  7. ^ "Secondhand Spacecraft Has Firsthand Asteroid Experience". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  8. ^ "» Vermin of the sky". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  9. ^ Insider, Ariel Schwartz, Business. "An asteroid hunter reveals how she finds the space rocks that could destroy earth". Business Insider. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  10. ^ Wolfe, Alexandra (2017-05-26). "Tales of an Asteroid Hunter". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  11. ^, By Sara Cardine. "Asteroid's name skyrockets across social media". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  12. ^ "Influx of New Faculty Join Olin College of Engineering | Olin College". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  13. ^ a b "Olin College Professor Carrie Nugent Awarded Carl Sagan Medal | Olin College". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  14. ^ Fornoff, Marcheta. "An 'asteroid hunter' shares her job description". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  15. ^ "Mass Media Fellows Describe Their Experiences". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  16. ^ D'Arcy, Patrick (2016-01-05). "21 Rising Stars To Watch in 2016". TED Fellows. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  17. ^ Nugent, Carrie, Adventures of an asteroid hunter, retrieved 2019-06-06
  18. ^ "Carrie Nugent". Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  19. ^ "Asteroid Hunters". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  20. ^ TED-Ed (2017-10-16), The first asteroid ever discovered - Carrie Nugent, retrieved 2019-06-06
  21. ^ "About". Spacepod. Archived from the original on 2019-06-07. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  22. ^ Singer, Kelsi (2015-09-24). "Great New Science Podcast by Dr. Carrie Nugent". Women in Planetary Science: Female Scientists on Careers, Research, Space Science, and Work/Life Balance. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  23. ^ "Carrie Nugent". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  24. ^ "(Cara Santa Maria gives the clue.) Caltech scientist Carrie Nugent explained how to track & predict the impact these would have if on a collision course with Earth; the method used in the movie Armageddon is not very practical -". Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  25. ^ "JPL Small-Body Database Browser". Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  26. ^ "Meet the 2018 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows". TED Blog. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  27. ^ "DPS Announces 2019 Prize Winners | American Astronomical Society". Retrieved 2019-06-06.