December 18, 2018

Planetary Members

Below is a listing of the members of the Planetary group at the Space Sciences Lab. The groups Associate Director is Robert Lillis.

Photo of Anna Butterworth

Anna Butterworth


Anna Butterworth is a Planetary Scientist specializing in instrument and technique development for analyses of small samples probing solar system formation and evolution.  She got her PhD (1998) in Analytical Chemistry from the Planetary and Space Research Institute at The Open University, UK, where she developed a gas chromatograph – isotope ratio mass spectrometer for analyzing dual isotopes of methane from small atmospheric samples, lunar soils and primitive meteorites. Read More…

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Shannon Curry

Dr. Shannon Curry is a research scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, where she currently is involved in NASA and NSF supported research projects. Read More…

Photo of Matthew Fillingim

Matthew Fillingim

Associate Research Physicist

My research focuses mainly on observations (both in-situ and remote) and simulations of space plasma processes and ionospheric electrodynamics primarily at Earth and Mars (but the same physics applies to any planetary object with an atmosphere). Read More…

Photo of Christopher Fowler

Christopher Fowler

Assistant Research Physicist

I am a planetary science researcher at the Space Sciences Laboratory within the University of California. My primary research interests include understanding the physical processes that energize the ionospheres of unmagnetized planets (in particular Mars), and how this energization can impact ionospheric escape to space. Read More…

Photo of Zack Gainsforth

Zack Gainsforth

Research Scientist

I am a member of  the Westphal group at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley. I analyze  cometary particles returned by NASA’s Stardust mission, and other extraterrestrial samples using electron microscopy, synchrotron and other analytical techniques.

Takuya Hara

Assistant Research Physicist

Dr. Hara got his PhD degree at Nagoya University, Japan in 2014 under the supervision by Prof. K. Seki (Now at University of Tokyo, Japan). Now I have been working at Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley for over 5 years. Read More…

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Stephen Ledvina

I am currently an associate research physicist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at UC Berkeley.  My research focuses on the interactions of atmospheres/ionospheres of non-magnetized or weakly magnetized solar system bodies with their surrounding plasma environments.  Read More…

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Christina Lee

Assistant Research Physicist

Dr. Lee is currently an Assistant Research Scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL) at the University of California at Berkeley (UC Berkeley). Christina works in the Space Physics Research Group (SPRG) on a variety of space-related research projects. Read More…

Photo of Robert Lillis

Robert Lillis

I am a planetary space physicist and geophysicist specializing in four main areas: 1) solar energetic particles and their effects on planetary environments, 2) electrodynamics of planetary ionospheres, 3) remote sensing of crustal magnetism and 4) the physics of atmospheric escape and climate evolution. Read More…

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Lucas Liuzzo

Postdoctoral Scholar

Lucas is a Postdoctoral Scholar working at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his Undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in 2014, and his Doctorate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 2018. Read More…

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Janet Luhmann

Research Geophysicist

Janet G. Luhmann is a Senior Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California, Berkeley. Her work focuses on the use of spacecraft observations and models to investigate the connections between the Sun and heliospheric conditions, and on the solar wind interactions with the planets. Read More…

Photo of Richard Mathies

Richard Mathies


Mathies is a physical chemist who received a BS from the University of Washington, Ph. D. from Cornell University, and postdoctoral training at Yale before moving to UC Berkeley in 1976 where he is now emeritus Professor of Chemistry Read More…. 

Photo of James McFadden

James McFadden

Assoc Res Physicist

Photo of Bryan Mendez

Bryan Mendez

Astronomer & Public Education Specialist

Dr. Bryan Méndez works to educate and inspire others about the wonder and beauty of the Universe as an education specialist at UC Berkeley’s Space Science Laboratory and an adjunct professor of astronomy and physics at Bay Area colleges. Read More…

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David Mitchell

Research Physicist

I arrived at Space Sciences Laboratory as an astronomy graduate student in the fall of 1985 to work on the Giotto mission to Comet Halley, which was launched just a few months earlier. Read More…

Photo of Kunihiko Nishiizumi

Kunihiko Nishiizumi

Senior Space Fellow

Interest in cosmochemistry and Nuclear chemistry. Research involved cosmic ray exposure histories of extraterrestrial materials (meteorites, lunar samples, and micrometeorites) and terrestrial materials (surface rocks and soils) using cosmic-ray produced (cosmogenic) nuclides such as 129I, 53Mn, 10Be, 26Al, 36Cl, and 41Ca; secular variation of solar and galactic cosmic rays.

Photo of Andrew R. Poppe

Andrew R. Poppe

Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. Poppe is currently an Assistant Research Scientist at the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California at Berkeley. Andrew works in the Space Physics Research Group (SPRG) on a variety of space-related research projects. Read More…

Photo of Kees Welten

Kees Welten

Associate Research Chemist

Kees Welten got his PhD from the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Utrecht University, Netherlands. From 1995-1997, he was an NRC postdoctoral fellow at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston. Read More…

Photo of Andrew Westphal

Andrew Westphal

Research Physicist

Andrew Westphal is a Research Physicist and Senior Space Fellow at the Space Sciences Laboratory at U. C. Berkeley. He got his PhD at Berkeley in 1992 in high-energy astrophysics, and now works on the interface between planetary science and astrophysics. Read More…

Photo of Shaosui Xu

Shaosui Xu

Assistant Research Physicist

My primary research interest is the interaction between solar wind and Earth and planetary space environment. My main research focuses include energetic electron transport at Mars and Earth, the Martian ionosphere and magnetosphere. Read More…