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Carrie R. Nugent, Ph.D.

A serious professor Carrie Nugent

Assistant Professor of Computational Physics and Planetary Science

MH 332


Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, UCLA

Select Courses Taught

Astronomy and Statistics
Machine Learning
Software Design
Environmental Consulting at Olin

Areas Of Interest

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


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


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
Personal Website