Carrie Nugent

Associate Professor of Computational Physics and Planetary Science


Carrie Nugent, Assistant Professor, headshot


MH 332


  • Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, UCLA


  • Carl Sagan Medal for Excellence in Public Communication in Planetary Science
  • Asteroid 8801 Nugent
  • TED Senior Fellow
  • Alumni Hall of Fame, Mira Costa High School
  • NASA Group Achievement Award
  • UCLA Collegium of University Teaching Fellowship
  • AAAS Mass Media Fellowship


  • Near-Earth Asteroids
  • Planetary Science
  • Physics
  • Astronomy
  • Data Science
  • Machine Learning
  • Science Communication

Dr. Carrie Nugent is a scientist, a professor, an author, a TED senior fellow, an enthusiastic science communicator and a firm believer that space exploration is for everyone. 

Her research focuses on asteroid detection. An asteroid impact is the only natural disaster we have the technology to prevent. But since prevention takes time, it's important to search for near-Earth asteroids now. Working with Olin students, Dr. Nugent uses techniques such as machine learning to discover asteroids in large data sets. Before coming to Olin, she was a member of NASA's NEOWISE and NEOCam asteroid-hunting mission teams and a scientist at Caltech/IPAC.

A TED Senior Fellow, her talk “Adventures of an Asteroid Hunter” has been viewed over a million times. She is the author of the popular science book "Asteroid Hunters" (2017, TED Books, Simon and Schuster). She produces and hosts Spacepod, a podcast that features casual conversations with astronomers, planetary scientists and engineers. She also wrote the script for this TED-ED animation  about the first asteroid ever discovered.

Select Publications

"Asteroid Hunters," Simon and Schuster, 2017