Alessandro Massarotti, PhD

Associate Professor of Physics and Director, Earth and Planetary Science Program, Stonehill College and Associate of the Department of Astronomy, Harvard University
Alessandro Massarotti is Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Stonehill College, and Director of the recently introduced Earth and Planetary Science Program. He has also been an associate of the Harvard College Observatory for close to twenty years, after having been a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA). Dr. Massarotti's research focuses on the study of the structure and evolution of rocky planets, including the Earth, Mars, Venus, Mercury, and the many exoplanets currently being discovered orbiting stars other than our Sun. Dr. Massarotti also researches tidal effects on rocky planets in the habitable zones of small red dwarf stars, and explores how Earth's climate history can be used to better calculate the extent of habitable zones of stars in general. Another line of Dr. Massarotti's research is in stellar astronomy, where he has examined the evolution of red giant stars and discovered that stars acquire surface rotation from a rapidly spinning core when their outer layers become coupled with the core by convection, corroborating the notion that stars like our own Sun initially rotate fast, but soon lose surface rotation because of stellar winds.

Education

  • PhD University of Chicago