Debra Fischer
Debra Fischer
Debra Fischer
Professor of Astronomy, Yale University

San Francisco State

M.S. Physics (1990)
  • Dr. Fischer is a Professor of Astronomy at Yale University where her team is developing next-generation instrument designed to break current measurement precision records and detect planets similar to our own that can serve as targets in the search for life beyond Earth.
  • She earned her B.S. degree at the University of Iowa in 1975, her M.S. degree in Physics at SF State in 1992, and her Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1998.
  • Fischer began searching for exoplanets as a postdoctoral fellow at SF State in 1997 by measuring Doppler shifts in the spectra of stars. She has discovered hundreds of extrasolar planets with this technique, including the first known multiple planet system in 1999 while a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
  • In 2003, she was appointed assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at SF State and was promoted to associate professor in 2008. During this time, she led an international consortium that detected more than 30 new extrasolar planets.
  • In 2009, she joined the faculty at Yale University as a professor in the Department of Astronomy. In recognition of her pioneering work in astronomy, Dr. Fischer has received honors and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Science, the Connecticut Academy of Science and Engineering, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Studies, and the Cottrell Scholar program.
  • Dr. Fischer is also the co-chair for the NASA study of LUVOIR, a 12- to 16-meter space telescope currently under evaluation as a possible future mission. This revolutionary facility will accelerate exoplanet research by providing resolution and measurements at unprecedented levels of accuracy.​

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