Sara Seager

Sara Seager was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada on July 21.1971, and is an example of diversity being a Jewish woman in STEM.  She is a planetary scientist and astrophysicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She started off with a major in physics at the University of Toronto, and later realized her “first love,” astronomy would be what she later received a PhD in at Harvard. She followed up with a a fellowship at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.   Sara is know mostly for her research on characterizing exoplanets with concepts and methods that now form the foundation of exoplanet atmospheres. An exoplanet is an orbiting star other than our sun, and were first reported in the mid-1900s.  She was given much opposition with her thesis, and many scientists where skeptical of new planets. Luckily, she found a huge supporter in the late John Bahcall, and he enabled her to initiate several new topics.

The Seager Equation is an example of one of her contributions to STEM.

N = the number of planets with detectable signs of life
N* = the number of stars observed
FQ = the fraction of stars that are quiet
FHZ = the fraction of stars with rocky planets in the habitable zone
FO = the fraction of those planets that can be observed
FL = the fraction that have life
FS = the fraction on which life produces a detectable signature gas

The Seager equation, shown above,  is a new take on the Drake Equation, a similar equation to configure the probability of life on other planet, that signifies to look not at intelligent life but just the presence of life itself.

Sara Seager’s research currently focuses on theoretical models of atmospheres and interior of exoplanet. She co-discovered the first detection of light emitted from an exoplanet and witnessed the first spectrum of an exoplanet. She has contributed many things to the field of Astronomy, and I believe has a lot more to come!


Seager, Ye Shall Find


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