Meet the Scientists

Many Worlds TV features a collection of out-of-the-box scientists from around the world, of every color, creed, and age. Their common denominator? An insatiable passion to know more, to keep discovering. Learn more about some of our attached scientists below.

Jessie Christiansen at Palomar Ob

Jessie Christiansen

Astrophysicist, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute

Jessie grew up staring at the wide nights skies of rural Queensland, Australia, dreaming of the stars. Today she's the Deputy Science Lead at the NASA Exoplanet Archive. When she's not searching for habitable planets, she's wrangling her rambunctious twins. Her hunt for Earth 2.0 could signal the beginning (and the end) of the world as we know it.

Juan Gilbert

Juan Gilbert

Human Centered Computing, University of Florida

As a kid, Juan loved sci-fi movies. His curiosity sparked, he went on to study chemistry before turning to computer science. A first generation college student, Juan now heads the Human Experience Research Laboratory, building tech solutions to real-world problems by integrating people, information, culture, and policy to address societal issues. Outside the lab, he's an avid athlete and fisherman and loves traveling with his two sons.

Ashley Sanderlin

Ashley H. Sanderlin

Neuroscientist, Wake Forest Baptist Health

Sometimes it's hard for Ashley to follow her own advice: Her work as research fellow examining the relationship between diet, sleep, and Alzheimer's disease keeps her busy enough. But as the mom of two small kids, actually sleeping is easier said than done. Her passion for research--inspired by her own grandmother's struggles with Alzheimer's--drove her to become the first African American to attain a PhD in Neuroscience at Michigan State University.


Tara C. Smith

Infectious Disease Epidemiologist, Kent State University

Fearing the impending zombie apocalypse? Tara's got you covered. As a professor specializing in zoonotic infections (infections that transfer from animals to humans), she not only knows her stuff about Staph, she also serves as a member of the advisory board of the Zombie Research Society. And yes, that's real. When she's not wrangling her teenagers, she's writing about pertussis or discussing women in science. Don't miss her undergrad class on Plagues and Pandemics!

Michael Habib USC Assistant Professor of Cell and Neurobiology photographed at the Natural History Museum, of Los Angeles County, Tuesday, September 15, 2014, in Los Angeles, California. (USC Photo/ Gus Ruelas)

Michael Habib

Paleontologist, USC & Natural History Museum of Los Angeles

When he's not combining physics and art to construct prehistoric pteradons, Michael is up to his elbows in more newly dead creatures--cadavers USC's Keck School of Medicine. His anatomy classes are popular with medical students, and it's no surprise that he was one of 2014 Brilliant Ten in Popular Science.

Ray Burks

Raychelle Burks

Analytical Chemist, St. Edward's University

If you want to get away with murder, all you have to do is ask Ray. She's a forensic scientist specializing in poison and criminology researcher developing tests to detect explosives and narcotics. She's also an award winning science communicator, so don't count on her to keep your bloody secrets.


Sean Carroll

Theoretical Physicist, CalTech

As comfortable teaching General Relativity to undergrads as he is giving popular science lectures around the world, Sean is a unique voice not just in physics but also science communication. His popular podcast Mindscape features interviews not just with other scientists but with luminaries from across the board. Make sure you've got deep pockets if you sit next to Sean at the poker table -- he's a champion player.


Maria Sgro

Forensic Pathologist, Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Guam

Maria's real life sounds like a prestige drama: she's one of two people who work in the coroner's office on the tiny island of Guam. When there's a murder, they call Maria. Her studies in anatomy have lead her to finish a PhD and to become a medical doctor so she can help the people of her homeland. She's also a champion rugby player... 'nuff said.


Jess Phoenix

Vulcanologist and Congressional Candidate

When she's not running the environmental scientific research organization she founded, Blueprint Earth, Jess is a geologist studying active volcanoes. Her run for a congressional seat in California and her popular TED talk have given Jess -- and science -- a seat in the national conversation. When it comes to the future of the planet, we need people like Jess more than ever.


Stephon Alexander

String Theorist, Brown University

Enjoy the hep tunes of Stephon's jazz saxophone as he uses music theory to help explain string theory in physics. Growing up in Trinidad and then the Bronx, it's a wonder that this kid now spends part of the year working with Large Hadron Collider at CERN in Switzerland. His story and his talents make him a unique figure in the world of cosmology.


Andrew Rader

Aerospace Engineer, Space X

Whether it's history, game design, or managing missions to Mars, Andrew is a regular know it all. Well, actually he's Canada's Greatest Know-It-All, a title he earned in 2013. He dreams of long-distance space travel and imaging a life on a new planet. But he can't talk about his work -- top secret stuff. He can, however, talk about his books for kids and adults. In 3, 2, 1.... blast off!

Dawnn Karen

Dawnn Karen

Fashion Psychologist

Always a multi-hyphenate, Dawnn integrated her work as model and practicing psychotherapist to create The Fashion Psychology Field--a newly applied academic discipline focused on the study and treatment of color, beauty, style, image and shape and its affect on human behavior while addressing cultural sensitivities and cultural norms. She's also the youngest and first Black female psychology professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC.

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