The Star-Crossed Life of Sara Seager

Like many astrophysicists, Sara Seager sometimes has a problem with her perception of scale. Knowing that there are hundreds of billions of galaxies, and that each might contain hundreds of billions of stars, can make the lives of astrophysicists and even those closest to them seem insignificant. Their work can also, paradoxically, bolster their sense of themselves. Believing that you alone might answer the question “Are we alone?” requires considerable ego. Astrophysicists are forever toggling between feelings of bigness and smallness, of hubris and humility, depending on whether they’re looking out or within.

Sara Seager, Member in the School of Natural Sciences (1999–02), is a professor of physics and of planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and is known for her work on extrasolar planets and their atmospheres.

Read more at the New York Times Magazine.


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