Ray Jayawardhana is a professor at the University of Toronto, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Observational Astrophysics. He uses many of the world’s largest telescopes to explore planetary origins and diversity, as well as the formation of stars and brown dwarfs. He is also an award-winning science writer, the author of Strange New Worlds: The Search for Alien Planets and Life Beyond Our Solar System (Princeton University Press, 2011), a creator of innovative science outreach programs, a popular speaker, and a frequent commentator for the media.
Jayawardhana’s research at Radcliffe will focus on the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets using high-precision observations. He hopes to advance our understanding of two types of “extreme worlds”—close-in planets seen in transit and far-out planets that can be directly imaged. He will also continue his science writing and outreach efforts.
Born and raised in Sri Lanka, Jayawardhana holds a BS from Yale University and a PhD from Harvard University. His research findings have made headlines worldwide on numerous occasions and led to a variety of accolades, including the Early Researcher Award, the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship, the Professor M. K. Vainu Bappu Gold Medal, and the Steacie Prize. He has also been named to Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.