Astronomy Department, MC 3411
The University of California at Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720
E-Mail: basri "at" berkeley.edu
What is a Planet? (Updated for the IAU Resolutions of August 2006)
Brief Professional Biography
GB was born May 3, 1951 in New York City to Saul and Phyllis Basri. He grew up in Fort Collins, Colorado, with younger brother David. Saul was a Physics professor at Colorado State Univ; Phyllis taught ballet and other dance. The family lived in Burma in 1957 and in Sri Lanka in 1965, both under Fullbright Lectureship appointments. GB attended Ft. Collins High School. He got a BSc in Physics from Stanford University in 1973, and a PhD in Astrophysics from the Univ. of Colorado, Boulder in 1979. His thesis was on stellar magnetic activity under the direction of Prof. Jeffrey Linsky, and he was an early user of the IUE satellite. An award of a Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship then brought him to Berkeley, where he has been ever since. GB originally worked with Prof. Stu Bowyer on high energy observations of stellar activity, and Prof. Len Kuhi on newly forming stars. GB is married to Jessica Broitman, and has 1 son.
GB joined the faculty of the Berkeley Astronomy Dept. in 1982, received tenure in 1988, and became a full professor in 1994. His work in the 1980s concentrated on star formation and the study of T Tauri stars, as well as continuing studies of stellar activity. In the past decade he has continued work on these topics, as well as becoming an early pioneer and world expert in the study of brown dwarfs. He wrote an Annual Reviews of Astronomy and Astrophysics article on "Observations of Brown Dwarfs" in 2000, and delivered a plenary lecture to the American Astronomical Society entitled "Brown Dwarfs: Up Close and Physical" in 2004. He was also lead author on an Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Science article entitled "What is a Planet?".
GB has written nearly 200 technical publications, including numerous review articles. There are more than 7000 citations to his works. GB was awarded a Miller Research Professorship in 1997, and became a Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturer in 2000. He has served on committees helping to award major NASA and NSF grants and projects, and awarding time on the (world's largest) Keck telescopes. In Dec. 2001, NASA selected the Kepler mission as one of its next Discovery missions. This mission has as its goal the discovery of extrasolar terrestrial planets, and the characterization of all planets in inner solar systems. GB is a Co-investigator on the mission; his main task is to understand the "noise" that stellar variability introduces into the photometric detection of extrasolar planetary transits (and to help extract the vast amount of stellar science that will be a bonus of the mission).
GB became increasingly involved in science education, and encouraging the participation of minorities in science. His efforts in this, and on behalf of increasing diversity at the University, were recognized by the Chancellor's Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence in 2006. He has served since 1998 on the Board of the Chabot Space and Science Center.and as a Board Member for the "I Have a Dream, Oakland" Foundation for a decade. GB served as Acting Chair for the Astronomy Dept. in 2006-07. In 2007 he was selected by Chancellor Birgeneau after a national search as the founding Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion at Berkeley.