Samuel Birch joins the Perron group as a Heising-Simons Foundation 51 Pegasi b Fellow. Birch explores and models the evolution of the surfaces of planets, moons and small bodies in the outer solar system, including Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, and the Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko—two very different, icy worlds investigated by the spacecrafts Cassini and Rosetta. While at MIT, he will investigate deltaic and river dynamics, using a combination of theoretical, experimental and numerical modeling, atmospheric simulations, and a re-evaluation of Cassini data for evidence of the resulting landforms. This suite of studies will help them understand what a delta “looks” like and map their distribution, which may unveil a record of Titan’s climate history and reveal how liquid methane has molded its landscapes.
Birch has a BA in geophysics from the University of California, Berkeley and a PhD from Cornell University in planetary science (minors: geophysics/astronomy)