Marc Kuchner

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Marc Kuchner
500482main kuchner-226x285.jpg
Born (1972-08-07) August 7, 1972 (age 46)
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
EducationHarvard University, California Institute of Technology
Known forDetection of exoplanetary systems, Theory of formation of circumstellar disks and planets, citizen science and science communication.
Scientific career
FieldsPlanetary astronomy

Marc Kuchner (born August 7, 1972) is an American astrophysicist, a staff member at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) known for work on images and imaging of disks and exoplanets. Together with Wesley Traub, he invented the band-limited coronagraph,[1] a design for the proposed Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) telescope, also to be used on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). He is also known for his novel supercomputer models of planet-disk interactions[2] and for developing the ideas of ocean planets,[3] carbon planets, and Helium planets.[4] Kuchner appears as an expert commentator in the National Geographic television show "Alien Earths" and frequently answers the "Ask Astro" questions in Astronomy Magazine. He currently serves as the principal investigator of the popular citizen science websites Disk Detective and Backyard Worlds.


Kuchner was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He received his bachelor's degree in physics from Harvard in 1994 and his Ph.D. in astronomy from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 2000. His doctoral thesis advisor was "pluto killer" Michael Brown. After he earned his Ph.D., Kuchner studied at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics as a Michelson Fellow, and then at Princeton University as a Hubble Fellow.[5] Kuchner was awarded the 2009 SPIE early career achievement award for his work on coronagraphy.[6]

Kuchner's parents are neurosurgeon Eugene Kuchner and psychologist Joan Kuchner. His wife is epidemiologist Jennifer Nuzzo.


Kuchner's former graduate students include astronomers Christopher Stark and Erika Nesvold.

Marketing for Scientists[edit]

Kuchner is the author of a book, Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times, 2011, (Island Press).[7] The book provides career and communication advice for scientists using the language of marketing, with chapters on "business", "how to sell something," "branding" and so on. This approach struck some reviewers as cynical about human nature.[8] But readers from a wide spectrum of scientific disciplines praised the book's unique angle and breadth of research. Ecology described it as "a must-read for ecologists and, indeed, for all scientists, mathematicians, and engineers at all career stages." Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson called it, "the first of its kind". A companion website,, provides links to websites and material discussed in the book.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kuchner, M. & Traub, W.A. (2002). "A Coronagraph with a Band-limited Mask for Finding Terrestrial Planets". "The Astrophysical Journal" 570, 900-908. (Abstract)
  2. ^ Smith, Catharine. "NASA Dust Model Presents Alien's View Of Our Solar System". Huffington Post.
  3. ^ Kuchner, M. (2003). "Volatile-rich Earth-Mass Planets in the Habitable Zone". "The Astrophysical Journal" 596, L105-L108. (Abstract)
  4. ^ Seager, S.; M. Kuchner, C. Hier-Majumder, B. Militzer (2007). "Mass-Radius Relationships for Solid Exoplanets". ApJ 669: 1279
  5. ^ "Goddard Space Flight Center Directory".
  6. ^
  7. ^ Kuchner, Marc (November 15, 2011). Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine In Tough Times. Island Press. p. 248.
  8. ^ Madsen, Lynnette (October 2012). "Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times". Physics Today.

External links[edit]