Competition: US & Canada
A native of Guangzhou, China, Yanqin Wu received education in China (University of Science and Technology of China) and US (Caltech), and is now a Professor of Astronomy in the University of Toronto, Canada.
Yanqin’s scientific career has largely mirrored the developments in the nascent field of extra-solar planets. She has contributed to the understandings of many types of planets, including ones with names like “hot Jupiters,” “mini-Neptunes,” and “super-Earths.” More recently, she and her collaborator deduced the existence of a new class of planets, the “sub-Earths,” based on data collected by NASA’s Kepler satellite. They believe that these objects are likely the closest extra-solar analogues to our own Earth and therefore hold the most promises for life.
For the next few years, Yanqin will be focussing her attention on a type of celestial bodies called “proto-planetary disks.” These are birth-places for planets and their physical and chemical states dictate all outcomes for the planets that we observe today.
In addition to research, Yanqin is also passionate about teaching. She ardently believes that scientific literacy is fundamental to a good citizenship.