The inaugural 2016 Breakthrough Discuss Workshop was held April 15-16, 2016 at Stanford University and sponsored by the Breakthrough Initiatives and the Stanford Physics Department. Breakthrough Discuss is a forum for scientists to present and discuss leading edge ideas in space exploration.
Dr. Jeff Kuhn
Dr. Kuhn is a physicist and astronomer, having received his physics PhD from Princeton in 1981. He helped found the Advanced Technology Research Center of the Institute for Astronomy University of Hawaii on Maui in 2003 and was its director until 2012. As a researcher, he’s generated about $14M of federal research grants over the last decade and published more than 200 papers. His innovative optical research has contributed to telescopes now under construction, like the Giant Magellan Telescope and the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope (for which he is a principal co-investigator). His scientific work has been recognized with an International Senior Humboldt Prize (from Germany) and international research fellowships from Japan, Switzerland, Germany, and France. He serves as an advisor for diverse organizations ranging from the BreakThrough Starshot and Watch committees to advisory Boards for NASA and university programs. He leads the PLANETS consortium.
Dr. Ruslan Belikov
Ruslan Belikov is the head of the Ames Coronagraph Experiment (ACE) research group at NASA Ames. Under Belikov’s leadership, ACE has been successfully maturing the PIAA coronagraph and wavefront control technologies, as well as pushing the state-of-the art in high contrast imaging performance at the diffraction limit. Belikov is also the PI of the Alpha Centauri Exoplanet Satellite mission concept, a member of the Exo-C mission concept Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT), and takes part in the coronagraph technology development effort for the WFIST-AFTA mission. Finally, Belikov is a member of Exoplanet Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG) executive committee.