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Brett McGuire W-1982

Dr. Brett McGuire, PhD

  • Award Recipient

Research Summary

Understanding the cosmic origin of the molecules that gave rise to life on Earth requires that we detect and quantify what kinds of molecules are present (and how they're reacting) when stars and planets are forming. We do this by first measuring their spectra - the unique patterns of light they absorb and emit as they tumble end over end - in laboratories on Earth and then matching it to the same patterns observed in space with telescopes. Because chemistry in space can be quite exotic, the molecules can be hard to produce in the laboratory for study. Indeed, we are approaching the point where our instruments in the lab no longer are powerful enough to see many of the kinds of molecules we want to detect. I have an idea that should make our instruments a million times more powerful by detecting electrons instead of light. It will enable us to study exciting and strange new chemistry occurring in space.

Research Title:


Award Year: 2021
Institution at Time of Award: Massachusetts Institute of Technology