Johns Hopkins PhD student named Schmidt Science Fellow

Kirsten Hall, whose work focuses on the evolution of galaxies, will pivot to climate science during her fellowship

Johns Hopkins PhD student Kirsten Hall has been named a Schmidt Science Fellow for 2020. The fellowship, in partnership with the Rhodes Trust, recognizes world's most outstanding emerging scientists in the fields of mathematics, engineering, natural sciences, and computing.

Kirsten Hall

Image caption: Kirsten Hall

Hall, a PhD student in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and a former Space Fellow at Space@Hopkins, is one of 22 scientists selected for the honor this year. Schmidt Science Fellows are selected on the basis of their record of scientific achievement and their demonstrated intellectual curiosity and interdisciplinary, collaborative spirit. The fellowship provides a yearlong postdoctoral placement that requires fellows to make a significant disciplinary pivot from their PhD studies.

Hall is interested in the evolution of galaxies over all of cosmic time. Her work, conducted alongside astrophysicists Toby Marriage and Nadia Zakamska, combines state-of-the-art datasets with advanced theoretical modeling to uncover the relationship between star-forming galaxies and dark matter and to measure the impact of growing supermassive black holes on their host galaxies.

With her fellowship, Hall aims to move into climate science and to use her expertise with large datasets to turn raw data from atmospheric monitoring satellites and ground-based data into actionable information for climate scientists. By tracing emissions back to their sources, she hopes to improve vitally important climate models.

"Kirsten is exceptionally capable, and she has deep intellectual curiosity," says Charles Bennett, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and director of Space@Hopkins. "As a Space@Hopkins Space Fellow, she was eager to learn about diverse areas of research across the university. I'm delighted but not surprised that she was selected to become a Schmidt Science Fellow."