Prashansa Gupta

Primary Advisor: Björn Benneke

Secondary Advisor: Nicolas Cowan

Prashansa completed her BS-MS degree, majoring in Physics, from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Mohali, India; and continued as a Junior Research Fellow for a year before joining University of Montreal as a PhD student.

As a part of the BS-MS dual degree, Prashansa has had a comprehensive training in physics with nearly 20 theory and 10 laboratory courses in physics related areas. The first two years of her training also taught her topics in biology, chemistry, mathematics and humanities. For her master thesis, she worked in radio astronomy, trying to develop a non cartesian basis for wide field observations, and simultaneously working on the Ooty Wide Field Array. Through various summer and winter projects during her undergraduate study, she has garnered experience in topics like neural networks, general theory of relativity, exoplanetary science, proper motions of stars, gravitational waves, solar radiation and astronaut health.

Relevance to TEPS

Prashansa’s PhD research project aims to yield the first two-dimensional spectroscopic maps of planets outside our solar system. These maps will transform these exoplanets from simple light emitting point sources into complex worlds, for which one will be able to study the atmosphere processes. She will then explore exactly what details of the 2D spectrophotometric surface we can recover with the NIRISS GTO program based on simulated training data sets generated with the SCARLET atmosphere model (Benneke & Seager 2012, 2013; Benneke 2015). A quantitative understanding of what information about the planet’s surface can be recovered will be critical for the NIRISS GTO team to understand the potential of the GTO program for eclipse mapping.