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Explore JPL - Seminar #4

Monday, October 27, 2014
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location: Noyes 153 (J. Holmes Sturdivant Lecture Hall)

This lunch-time program is designed to help undergrads learn more about the research happening at the Jet Propulsion Lab and connect them with possible SURF mentors for next summer.

Focus:  Robotic Systems, AStrobiology, Geochemistry
A boxed lunch will be provided
Please RSVP at:



Laurie Barge: Dr. Barge is a NASA Astrobiology Postdoctoral Fellow with the JPL "Icy Worlds" team. She studies prebiotic chemistry and the origin of life in hydrothermal systems on the early Earth, and whether a similar process could occur on icy worlds with subsurface oceans, such as Jupiter's moon Europa or Saturn's moon Enceladus. Dr. Barge received her B.S. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from Villanova University, PA, and her Ph.D. in Geological Sciences from the University of Southern California.

Aaron Parness: Dr. Parness leads research on the attachment interfaces between robotic systems and their surrounding environment, working primarily on climbing robots and robotic grippers. Dr. Parness's current projects include anchoring systems for Near Earth Objects, where there is virtually no gravity, climbing robots for natural terrain including cliff faces and cave ceilings, micro ground vehicles (<100 grams) with dynamic mobility, and gecko-inspired adhesive anchors. He received bachelor's degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Creative Writing at MIT, and a MS and PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University. Dr. Parness is the Group Leader of the Extreme Environment Robots Group at JPL.

Florian Schwandner: Dr. Schwandner is an analytical geochemist working on geogenic and biogenic carbon gas emissions, using ground and space based observations. His expertise lies in creating autonomous real-time networks and data management systems, including design and implementation of sensor solutions for in-situ geochemical monitoring in extreme and remote environments (volcanoes, deserts, mountains, rain forest). Florian (Max) holds a PhD in Geochemistry from ETH Zurich (Switzerland), and worked as a researcher at Arizona State University, Colorado State University, and the Earth Observatory of Singapore, until joining the OCO-2 satellite project at JPL in early 2013.

For more information, please phone 626-395-2885 or email

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