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Wesley Traub's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 301-355
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Curriculum Vitae:

Wesley Traub
Chief Scientist, NASA Exoplanet Exploration Program

Wes Traub is the Chief Scientist for NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program. He has been at JPL since June 2005, and before that he was at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics for 37 years. He is particularly interested in exoplanets, coronagraphs and spectroscopy, all for the purpose of someday directly imaging terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars.

He also has an ongoing interest in measuring the visible and infrared light from disks of material around stars using ground-based interferometers.

  • Ph.D., Physics, University of Wisconsin - Madison (1968)
  • M.S., Physics, University of Wisconsin - Madison (1964)
  • B.S., Physics and Mathematics, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee (1962)

Research Interests
  • Extrasolar Planets: Detection and Characterization, Coronagraph Group Lead, Terrestrial Planet Finder
  • High Angular Resolution Astrophysics: Project Scientist for Infrared-Optical Telescope Array (IOTA)
  • Stratospheric Physics and Chemistry: Principal Investigator for Far-Infrared Spectrometer (FIRS-2)


WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope) Icon WFIRST (Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope)
The Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) is a NASA observatory designed to perform wide-field imaging and surveys of the near infrared (NIR) sky.

Professional Experience
  • Chief Scientist, Exoplanet Exploration Program, NASA JPL (2008-present)
  • Chief Scientist, Navigator Program, NASA JPL (2005-2008)
  • Senior Research Scientist, NASA JPL (2007-present)
  • Project Scientist, Terrestrial Planet Finder Coronagraph, NASA JPL (2005-2010)
  • Research Associate, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (2005-present)
  • Senior Physicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (1998-2005)
  • Consultant, Perkin-Elmer Corporation (1984-1987)
  • Lecturer on Astronomy, Harvard University (1976-1989)
  • Consultant, Laser Optics, Inc. (1975-1978)
  • Associate of the Harvard College Observatory (1975-1976)
  • Research Fellow in Applied Physics, Harvard University (1968-1974)
  • Physicist, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (1968-1998)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to SIM Planet Finding Capability Study (2010)
  • Distinguished Alumni Award, Dept. of Physics, Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison (2008)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award to FIRST Team (2006)
  • NASA Group Achievement Award for Balloon Observations of the Stratosphere Team, (2004)
  • Smithsonian Institution Award for Special Achievement Reflecting a High Standard of Accomplishment (1989, 1994, 1996)

Selected Publications

For a complete list of publications, see Dr. Traub's CV.

  1. A Laboratory Demonstration of the Capability to Image an Earth-like Extrasolar Planet (J.T. Trauger and W.A. Traub), Nature, 446, pp. 771-773, 2007.
  2. First Images of R Aquarii and its Asymmetric H2O Shell (S. Ragland, H. LeCoroller, E. Pluzhnik, W.D. Cotton, W.C. Danchi, J.D. Monnier, W.A. Traub, L.A. Wilson, J.-P. Berger, and M.G. Lacasse), Astrophysical Journal, 679, pp. 746-761, 2008.
  3. Milliarcsecond N-Band Observations of the Nova RS Ophiuchi: First Science with the Keck Interferometer Nuller (R.K. Barry, W.C. Danchi, W.A. Traub, J.L Sokoloski, J.P. Wisneiwski, E. Serabyn, M.J. Kuchner, R. Akeson, E. Appleby, J. Bell, and 31 coauthors), Astrophysical Journal, 677, pp. 1253-1267, 2008.
  4. The limb darkened Arcturus; Imaging with the IOTA/IONIC interferometer (S. Lacour, S. Meimon, E. Thiébaut, G. Perrin, T. Verhoelst, E. Pedretti, P. A. Schuller, L. Mugnier, J. Monnier, J.P. Berger, X. Haubois, A. Poncelet, G. Le Besnerais, K. Eriksson, R. Millan-Gabet, S. Ragland, M. Lacasse, and W. Traub) Astronomy & Astrophysics, 485, pp. 561-570, 2008.
  5. Terrestrial-Planet Transits of M Stars (W.A. Traub and R. Cutri), Ast. Soc. Pacific, Conf. Series, 398, p. 475, 2008
  6. Super Earth Explorer: A Coronagraphic Off-Axis Space Telescope (J. Schneider, A. Boccaletti, C. Mawet, P. Baudoz, J.L. Beuzit, R. Doyon, M. Marley, D. Stam, G. Tinetti, W. Traub, J. Trauger, A. Aylward, J. Y-K. Cho, C.U. Keller, S. Udry, the SEE-COAST Team), Experimental Astronomy, 23, pp. 357-377, 2009.
  7. Transits of Earth-Like Planets (L. Kaltenegger and W.A. Traub), Astrophysical Journal, 698, pp. 519-527, 2009.
  8. Detection of non-radial pulsation and faint companion in the symbiotic star CH Cyg (E. Pedretti, J.D. Monnier, S. Lacour, W.A. Traub, W.C. Danchi, P.G. Tuthill, N.D. Thureau, R. Millan-Gabet, J.P. Berger, M.G. Lacasse, P.A. Schuller, F.P. Schloerb, and N.P. Carleton), Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 397, pp. 325-334, 2009.
  9. Imaging the asymmetric dust shell around CI Cam with long-baseline optical interferometry (N. D. Thureau, J.D. Monnier, W.A. Traub, R. Millan-Gabet, E. Pedretti, J.-P. Berger, M.R. Garcia, F.P. Schloerb, and A.-K. Tannirkulam), MNRAS, 398, pp. 1309-1316, 2009.
  10. The Structure and Kinematics of the Envelope Around U Ori from IOTA Observations (E.A. Pluzhnik, S. Ragland, H. LeCoroller, W.D. Cotton, W.C. Danchi, W.A. Traub, and L.A. Willson), Astrophysical Journal, 700, pp. 114-122, 2009.
  11. 51 Ophiuchus: A Possible Beta Pictoris Analog Measured with the Keck Interferometer Nuller, (C.C. Stark, M.J. Kuchner, W.A. Traub, J.D. Monnier, E. Serabyn, M. Colavita, C. Koresko, B. Mennesson, L.D. Keller), Astrophysical Journal, 703, pp. 1188-1197, 2009.
  12. First L-Band Interferometric Observations of a Young Stellar Object: Probing the Circumstellar Environment of MWC 419 (S. Ragland, R.L. Akeson, T. Armandroff, M.M. Colavita, W.C. Danchi, L.A. Hillenbrand, R. Millan-Gabet, S.T. Ridgway, W.A. Traub, G. Vasisht, P.L. Wizinowich), Astrophysical Journal, 703, pp. 22-29, 2009.
  13. A Multi-wavelength Differential Imaging Experiment for the High Contrast Imaging Testbed, (B. Biller, J. Trauger, D. Moody, L. Close, A. Kuhnert, K. Stapelfeldt, W.A. Traub, B. Kern), Ast. Soc. Pacific, 121, pp. 716-727, 2009.
  14. SiO Masers in Asymmetric Miras I: R. Leonis (W.D. Cotton, S. Ragland, H. LeCoroller, E. Pluzhnik, W.C. Danchi, W.A. Traub, L.A. Willson, J.-P. Berger, and M.G. Lacasse), Ap.J., 704, pp. 170-182, 2009.
  15. SiO Masers in Asymmetric Miras II: R. Cancri (W.D. Cotton, S. Ragland, E. Pluzhnik, W.C. Danchi, W.A. Traub, L.A. Willson, J.-P. Berger, and M.G. Lacasse), Ap.J., 185, pp. 574-585, 2009.
  16. Spectral Imaging with Nulling Interferometer: Theory (Taro Matsuo, Makoto Hattori, Motohide Tamura, and Wesley A. Traub), submitted to Applied Optics, 2009.
  17. A Physical Orbit for the M-Dwarf Binary Gliese 268 (R.K., Barry, B.O. Demory, D. Segransan, T. Forveille, W.C. Danchi, E. DiFolco, D. Queloz, G. Torres, W. Traub, X. Delfosse, M. Mayor, C. Perrier, and S. Udry), submitted to ApJ, 2009.
  18. Imaging the Spotty Surface of Betelgeuse in the H Band (X. Haubois, G. Perrin, S. Lacour, T. Verhoelst, S. Meimon, L. Mugnier, E. Thiebaut, J.P. Berger, S.T. Ridgway, J.D. Monnier, r. Millan-Gabet, W.A. Traub), Astronomy and Astrophysics, 508, pp. 923-932, 2009.
  19. The Pulsation of chi Cygni Imaged by Optical Interferometry: A Novel Technique to Derive Distance and Mass of Mira Stars (S. Lacour, E. Thiebaut, G. Perrin, S. Meimon, X. Haubois, E. Pedretti, S.T. Ridgway, J.D. Monnier, J.P. Berger, P.A. Schuller, H. Woodruff, A. Poncelet, H. Le Coroller, R. Millan-Gabet, M. Lacasse, and W. Traub) , Astrophysical Journal, 707, pp. 632-643, 2009.
  20. SiO Masers in Asymmetric Miras III: IK Tauri (W.D. Cotton, S. Ragland, E. Pluzhnik, W.C. Danchi, W.A. Traub, L.A. Willson, and M.G. Lacasse), Astrophysical Journal Supplement, 187, pp. 107-118, 2010.
  21. Detectability of Earth-Like Planets in Multi-Planet Systems: Preliminary Report (W.A. Traub, C. Beichman, A.F. Boden, A.P. Boss, S. Casertano, J. Catanzarite, D. Fischer, E.B. Ford, A. Gould, S. Halverson, A. Howard, S. Ida, N.J. Kasdin, G.P. Laughlin, H.F. Levison, D. Lin, V. Makarov, J. Marr, M. Muterspaugh, S.N. Raymond, D. Savransky, M. Shao, A. Sozzetti, and C. Zhai), in "Extrasolar Planets in Multibody Systems: Theory and Observations", K. Gozdziewski, A. Niedzielski, and J. Schneider, Eds., EAS Publications Series, 42, pp. 191-199, 2010.
  22. Direct Imaging (W.A. Traub and B.R. Oppenheimer), in Exoplanets, S. Seager, editor, University of Arizona Press, pp. 111-156, 2010.
  23. A New Concept for Direct Imaging and Spectral Characterization of Exoplanets in Multi-Planet Systems (Taro Matsuo, Wesley Traub, Makoto Hattori, and Motohide Tamura), Astrophysical Journal, 729:50 (10 pp), 2011.
  24. First astronomical unit scale image of the GW Orionis triple system. Direct detection of a new stellar companion (Berger, J.-P.; Monnier, J. D.; Millan-Gabet, R.; Renard, S.; Pedretti, E.; Traub, W.; Bechet, C.; Benisty, M.; Carleton, N.; Haguenauer, P.; Kern, P.; Labeye, P.; Longa, F.; Lacasse, M.; Malbet, F.; Perraut, K.; Ragland, S.; Schloerb, P.; Schuller, P. A.; Thiébaut, E.), Astronomy & Astrophysics, 529, (4 pp.), 2011.
  25. ExoZodiacal Dust Levels for Nearby Main Sequence Stars (Millan-Gabet, R.; Serabyn, E.; Mennesson, B.; Traub, W. A.; Barry, R. K.; Danchi, W. C.; Kuchner, M.; Ragland, S.; Hrynevych, M.; Woillez, J.; Stapelfeldt, K.; Bryden, G.; Colavita, M. M.; Booth, A. J.), Astrophysical Journal, accepted, 2011.
  26. A Mass-Radius Relation for Exoplanets, W.A. Traub, submitted to Astrophysical Journal, April 2011.
  27. Terrestrial, Habitable-Zone Frequency Estimate from Kepler, W.A. Traub, submitted to Astrophysical Journal, April 2011.
  28. PIONIER: a 4-telescope visitor instrument at VLTI, J.-B. Le Bouquin, J.-P. Berger, B. Lazare, G. Zins, P. Haguenauer, L. Jocou, P. Kern, R. Millan-Gabet, W. Traub, O. Absil, J.-C. Augereau, M. Benisty, N. Blind, X. Bonfils, S. Brillant, A. Delboulbe, P. Feautrier, M. Germain, P. Gitton, D. Gillier, J.-L. Lizon, J.-L. Monin, M. Kiekebusch, J. Kluska, J. Knudstrup, P. Labeye, Y. Magnard, F. Malbet, D. Maurel, F. Menard, G. Montagnier, M. Micallef, L. Michaud, S. Morel, T. Moulin, D. Popovic, K. Perraut, P. Rabou, S. Rochat, F. Roussel, A. Roux, E. Stadler, S. Stefl, and E. Tatulli, submitted to Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2011.
  29. Searching for faint companions with VLTI/PIONIER, I. Method and first results, Absil O., Le Bouquin J.-B., Berger J.-P., Lagrange A.-M., Chauvin G., Lazareff B., Zins G., Haguenauer P., Jocou L., Kern P., Millan-Gabet R., Traub W., submitted to Astronomy and Astrophysics, 2011.
  30. First Keck Nulling Observations of a Young Stellar Object: Probing the Circumstellar Environment of the Herbig Ae star MWC 325, S. Ragland, K. Ohnaka, L. Hillenbrand, S. T. Ridgway, M. M. Colavita, R. L. Akeson, W. Cotton, W. C. Danchi, R. Millan-Gabet, W. A. Traub, submitted to Astrophysical Journal, 2011.

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