Meet a Lucerna Author: Gregory R. Troiani

Gregory will present his study on exoplanet habitability at the Lucerna Symposium on March 11.

What is your Lucerna project about?

My paper, “Thermal Constraints on Exoplanet Habitability,” is a literature review of various papers on exoplanet habitability, namely on the types of planets and stars around which we might expect to find water-based life forms.

Why are you interested in this topic?

I think the prospect of life on other planets is one of the most interesting existential questions that we actually have the capacity to answer. The prospect of finding life elsewhere—or looking enough places that we can be statistically confident that we won’t find it elsewhere—would help us to calibrate just how impressed we should be by the fact that we’re here at all, as well as what we might expect for the future of humanity. When looking for a project topic, I couldn’t locate a concise explanation for the types of places we should be looking. So, I wrote one.

What have been the benefits and challenges of this project?

The initial draft for this paper was written pretty hastily during finals week in December of 2019, so that was a pretty big challenge, and the changes made since then have been vast. However, it has been very beneficial as I apply to grad school to have publications on my CV and have a proper writing sample to submit when requested. It was also helpful to hone my skills as a science writer.

What is your advice for students who are interested in publishing their work in Lucerna?

Seek constructive feedback. Before I even submitted my work and began the more formal revision process with Lucerna’s editors, I had a professor and at least three colleagues give me edits and feedback. The published version is probably my seventh or eighth draft.

What are your professional plans or goals?

I intend to seek a Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics, and ultimately become professional scientist, either as a professor at a university or as a scientist at a national laboratory.