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 Asteroids, Comets & Satellites (3224): People
S. Sona  Hosseini's Picture
Jet Propulsion Laboratory
M/S 183-601
4800 Oak Grove Drive
Pasadena, CA 91109
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Curriculum Vitae:

S. Sona Hosseini

Dr. Sona Hosseini was born in Iran and moved to San Antonio TX with her family when she was two years old. It was there at second-grade elementary school that she fell in love with astronomy during a trip to NASA Houston Center. Her involvement in amateur astronomy projects and groups carried on when she and her family moved back to Iran at the age of 11. The lack of astronomy projects in junior high schools in Iran at the time led her parents to introduce her to Dr. Soubuti and Dr. Nasiri in the Institute for Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (IASBS). At the age of 12, Sona started working with Dr. Nasiri and astronomy graduate students on various cosmology and astronomy projects. It was in IASBS local and national astronomy conferences that Sona found herself asking questions about which astronomical instrument is used for what astronomical observation and why; an interest that lasted until the end of high school and remained strong in making her professional career choices since then. Sona built her first telescope in Junior High and moved on to building amateur dark room cameras, and grating spectrometers.

After high school, Sona joined Dr. Kiasatpour in Univeristy of Isfahan in Iran where she got her Bachelor’s degree in Physics and Atomic Physics. Throughout her undergraduate program, Sona was active in building various apparatus for department laboratories and conducting science experiments for it for future courses. She was involved in building a new 16-inch telescope and observatory dome for the Department of Physics and actively organized and participated in physics and astronomy student club activities. Sona completed her undergraduate program by building a Dark Sky Metter, which she later used in addition to other techniques to measure the sky brightness for Iran National Observatory candiate sites.

For her Master’s program, Sona worked with Dr. Nasiri in the University of Zanjan, the Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dr. Scott Tear in New Mexico Tech. She structured a sequence of observations and reported the Sky Brightness measurements for the three various candidate sites for the Iran National Observatory at the time.

Dr. Hosseini was always passionate to work on astronomical instruments to study Solar System objects. After moving back to the US with her family, she joined Dr. Walter Harris at Department of Engineering Applied Science, the University of California Davis to build a novel interferometry technique to observe the wide field of view astronomical targets such as comets at high spectral resolving power. She started her graduate program by building the laboratory for her prototype instrument at the campus. After two years and the completion of the prototype Spatial Homodyne Spectrometer (SHS), the coupling siderostat wasn’t delivered. That led Sona and her graduate advisor to consider moving the instrument to Mt. Hamilton, Lick Observatory. Over the course of following three years, Sona spent most of her time at Mt. Hamilton developing the complete theoretical concept of reflective SHS systems and built Khayyam, the first field Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer coupled to the 0.6m Coudé Auxiliary Telescope (CAT). In addition to her thesis project, Sona was very much involved with professional societies in astronomy, and optical engineering sciences culminating in joining Jet Propulsion Laboratory in July 2015.

  • 2008 to 2015, Ph.D., Engineering Applied Science, College of Engineering, University of California Davis, CA.
  • 2008 – 2010, M.S. in Science, Engineering Applied Science, College of Engineering, University of California Davis, CA.
  • 2005 – 2006, M.S. in Science, Physics, and Astronomy, University of Zanjan, Iran.
  • 2000-2004, B.S. in Physics, Physics, and Minor in Atomic Physics, University of Isfahan, Iran.

Research Interests

Science research interest:

  • Cometary science and evolution
  • Planetary atmospheres, and formation
  • Exoplanetary atmospheres
  • Kuiper belt

Instrumentation and technology research interest:

  • Design and construction of astronomical instrumentation
  • High-resolution wide-field of view spectrometers
  • Spectrometers and Interferometers

Professional Experience

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2015 - Present)

  • Research and Instrument Scientist,

University of California Davis (2008-2015)

  • Graduate Student Researcher Department of Engineering Applied Science,

University of Zanjan (2005-2006)

  • Graduate Student Researcher, Department of Physics

Community Service
  • Roadmap to Ocean Words (ROW) committee member (2016-Present)
  • SPIE  Future Leaders Committee member (2012-Present)
  • Division of Planetary Science Subcommittee on Professional Climate Committee member (2015-Present)
  • SPIE Publication Committee member, student representative (2012-Present)
  • Committee Chair, SPIE  Future Leaders Committee (2014-2015)
  • Member of the International UNESCO Committee "Optics Under 40" for the International Year of Light 2015 (2014-2015)
  • Organizer of the Grad Student and Postdoc Social Event for Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) meetings (2010-2014)
  • AGU (American Geophysical Union) Planetary Sciences Session Student Survey Facilitator (2012-2014)
  • UC Davis Information Technology Committee member (2012-2015)
  • Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) Discoveries in Planetary Science Slide, translator to Farsi (2012-2013)
  • UC Davis OSA/SPIE Chapter Officer, UC Davis, CA
  • Organizer of the public viewing of the transit of Venus, SPIE/ OSA student chapter, UC Davis Campus, CA (2012)
  • Organizer of the Solar Annular Eclipse Viewing, SPIE/ OSA student chapter, Black Butte Lake, CA (2012)
  • Organizer of the Applied Science Exhibition and Laser Maze event, UC Davis Picnic Day, UC Davis, CA (2011-2013)
  • AGU Planetary Science Education Working Group member (2012-Present)
  • AGU (American Geophysical Union) Planetary section student representative (2012-2015)
  • UCD Graduate Student Association Representative at UCD Distinguished Teaching Awards Committee, UC Davis, CA (2010-2012)
  • UC Davis OSA (Optical Society of America)/SPIE Chapter President, UC Davis, CA (2011-2012)

Selected Awards
  • NASA Earth And Space Science Fellowship (NESSF), Planetary Sciences Category  (2013-2015)
  • Young Scholar Award, Association of Professors and Scholars of Iranian Heritage (APSIH), UCLA, CA (2014)
  • Graduate Dissertation Award, Association of Professors and Scholars of Iranian Heritage, UCLA, CA (2014)
  • John Kiel Scholarship in Optics and Photonics for Potential of Long Term Contribution in Optical Sciences to Optics Society sponsored by SPIE (2012)
  • Golden Key International Honor, University of California Davis, CA (2009)

Selected Publications
  1. Hosseini,  Sona, "Tunable Reflective Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer: A Technique for High Resolving Power, Wide Field Of View Observation Of Diffuse Emission Line Sources", Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California Davis, July (2015).
  2. Hosseini, Sona, Harris, Walter, “Khayyam, a tunable spatial heterodyne spectroscopy (SHS): first calibration and visible-wavelength observations”, Proc. SPIE 9147, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy V, 91478L (July 8, 2014); doi:10.1117/12.2055862
  3. Hosseini, Sona, Harris, Walter, Corliss, Jason, " Khayyam: a tunable spatial heterodyne spectrometer for observing diffuse emission line targets ", Proc. SPIE 8446, Ground-based and Airborne Instrumentation for Astronomy IV, 84464K (October 5, 2012); doi:10.1117/12.925513;
  4. K. J. Meech, M. F. A’Hearn,, "EPOXI: Comet 103P/Hartley 2 Observations from a Worldwide Campaign", The Astrophysical Journal Letters, 734: L1 (9pp), June 10 (2011)
  5. Kasting, James; Traub, W., et al. , "Exoplanet Characterization and the Search for Life", Astro2010: The Astronomy and Astrophysics Decadal Survey, Science White Papers, no. 151 (2011)
  6. Hosseini, S. Sona, Corliss, Jason, Harris, Walter, "A Second Generation Tunable Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer for Ground-Based Observations of Diffuse Emission Line Targets", Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (FTS) proceeding,  (2011)
  7. Hosseini,  Sona, Harris, Walter, "Khayyam: a second generation tunable spatial heterodyne spectrometer for broadband observation of diffuse emission line targets", Proc. SPIE 8146, 814617 (2011)
  8. Ben-Jaffel, Lotfi, Hosseini, S. Sona, “On the Existence of Energetic Atoms in the Upper Atmosphere of Exoplanet HD209458b”, The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 709, Issue 2, pp. 1284-1296 (2010)
  9. Hosseini, S. Sona, "Theoretical and Experimental Investigation of Sky Brightness for Site Selection of Large Observatories", Master’s Thesis, Zanjan University, Zanjan, Iran, July (2006)
  10. Hosseini, S. Sona, “Investigation of Extra solar system planets: existence and formation“, Bachelor's Thesis, Isfahan Univ., Isfahan, Iran, July (2004)
  11. Hosseini, S. S., Gong, A., Ruth, D., Baldis, H., and Harris, W., “Tunable Spatial Heterodyne Spectroscopy (TSHS): A New Technique for Broadband Visible Interferometry”, Optical and Infrared Interferometry II. Edited by Danchi, William C.; Delplancke, Françoise; Rajagopal, Jayadev K. Proceedings of the SPIE, Volume 7734, June (2010)

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