Elizabeth J. Tasker

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Elizabeth Tasker
Elizabeth J. Tasker

(1980-07-12) 12 July 1980 (age 41)
Alma materDurham University (MSci)
University of Oxford (DPhil)
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Florida
Columbia University
McMaster University
Hokkaido University
ThesisNumerical simulations of the formation and evolution of galaxies (2005)

Elizabeth J. Tasker (born 12 July 1980) is a British astrophysicist, science writer and Associate Professor at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. She wrote The Planet Factory, which was published by Bloomsbury in 2017.


Tasker studied theoretical physics at Durham University and graduated in 2002.[1] She moved to the University of Oxford for her doctoral studies, working under the supervision of Greg Bryan.[2] She completed her thesis Numerical simulations of the formation and evolution of galaxies in 2005.[2]

Career and research[edit]

Tasker joined Columbia University as a postdoctoral research assistant, where she worked on simulations of star formation that incorporated feedback from supernovae.[3] She has investigated whether stellar feedback results in the death of Giant Molecular Clouds.[4] She spent three years at the University of Florida as the Theoretical Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow, before moving to McMaster University as a CITA National Fellow in 2009.[5]

Tasker's research investigates how stars form in disc galaxies using computer simulations.[6] She looks at how galaxy structure impacts the formation of stars, and how star formation drives galaxy evolution.[6] She has argued for the need to evaluate the language around exoplanet ranking metrics.[7] She joined Hokkaido University as an international tenure-track academic in 2011.[6] She won the Hokkaido University President’s Award for Education in 2014, 2015 and 2016.[citation needed] She was appointed to JAXA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, as an associate professor in 2016,[8][9] working on hydrodynamical models of star and planet formation.[9][10]

Science communication[edit]

Tasker is also a popular science writer. In 1999 she won The Daily Telegraph Young Science Writers Award.[8] She has written for Scientific American, How It Works, Space.com, The Conversation and Astronomy.[11][12][13][14] She has presented popular science lectures at the Communicating Astronomy with the Public conference, the Royal Institution and American Museum of Natural History.[15][16][17] In 2015, Tasker presented How Did We Begin at TEDx Hokkaido University.[18] She has spoken about the work of the Earth-Life Science Institute to the general public.[19]

The Planet Factory[edit]

In 2017 Bloomsbury Publishing released Tasker's first book, The Planet Factory.[20] The book was described as "brilliantly written" by Physics World[21] and "splendidly readable and authoritative" by Caleb Scharf.[20]


  1. ^ "Curriculum Vitae". Elizabeth Tasker. Retrieved 20 April 2019.
  2. ^ a b Tasker, Elizabeth (2005). Numerical simulations of the formation and evolution of galaxies. researchgate.net (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.424719. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  3. ^ Tasker, Elizabeth J.; Bryan, Greg L. (2006). "Simulating Star Formation and Feedback in Galactic Disk Models". The Astrophysical Journal. 641 (2): 878–890. arXiv:astro-ph/0512027. Bibcode:2006ApJ...641..878T. doi:10.1086/500567. ISSN 0004-637X. S2CID 14350784.
  4. ^ Tasker, Elizabeth J.; Wadsley, James; Pudritz, Ralph (2015). "Star Formation in Disk Galaxies. III. Does stellar feedback result in cloud death?". The Astrophysical Journal. 801 (1): 33. arXiv:1501.00277. Bibcode:2015ApJ...801...33T. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/801/1/33. ISSN 1538-4357. S2CID 54501498.
  5. ^ "Elizabeth Tasker: The Planet Factory | Ada's Technical Books". seattletechnicalbooks.com. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  6. ^ a b c "Elizabeth TASKER » Office of Promotion and Standardization of the Tenure-Track System | 北海道大学". tenure-track.cris.hokudai.ac.jp. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  7. ^ Tasker, Elizabeth; Tan, Joshua; Heng, Kevin; Kane, Stephen; Spiegel, David; the ELSI Origins Network Planetary Diversity Workshop; Brasser, Ramon; Casey, Andrew; Desch, Steven (2017). "The language of exoplanet ranking metrics needs to change". Nature Astronomy. 1 (2): 0042. arXiv:1708.01363. Bibcode:2017NatAs...1E..42T. doi:10.1038/s41550-017-0042. ISSN 2397-3366. S2CID 118952886.
  8. ^ a b "Elizabeth Tasker Bloomsbury profile". bloomsbury.com. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  9. ^ a b 宇宙科学専攻, 総合研究大学院大学 物理科学研究科. "Faculty Staff | Solar system science". Department of Space and Astronautical Science, SOKENDAI. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  10. ^ "タスカー エリザベス | 研究教育職員". 宇宙科学研究所 (in Japanese). Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  11. ^ April 1, Elizabeth Tasker |; ET, 2016 08:00am. "If Hitomi is Lost, What Science is Lost With It? (Op-Ed)". Space.com. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  12. ^ Tasker, Elizabeth. "Let's Lose the Term "Habitable Zone" for Exoplanets". Scientific American Blog Network. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  13. ^ Gorman, Christine. "Surprising New Finds from Ancient Egyptian Star Charts [Slide Show]". Scientific American. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Elizabeth Tasker". The Conversation. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  15. ^ "Communicating Astronomy with the Public 2018" (PDF). CAP. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  16. ^ O'brien, Brendan (26 March 2017). "Astrophiz 30: Dr Elizabeth Tasker debunks 'Earth2.0' in Trappist-1 system + Dr Ian Musgrave 'What's Up Doc?'". Astrophiz. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  17. ^ "A planet not our own". rigb.org. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  18. ^ TEDx Talks, How Did We Begin? | Elizabeth Tasker | TEDxHokkaidoU, retrieved 19 January 2019
  19. ^ NASA Astrobiology, Space Dust to Sentience: Dr. Elizabeth Tasker, retrieved 19 January 2019
  20. ^ a b "The Planet Factory: Exoplanets and the Search for a Second Earth". Bloomsbury. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  21. ^ "How to build a planet". Physics World. 5 December 2017. Retrieved 19 January 2019.