Will Best

Graduate Student, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai'i


I'm a fourth-year PhD student at the IfA in Honolulu. I'm interested in almost everything astronomical, but especially brown dwarfs, protoplanetary disks, planet and star formation, and exoplanets.

My thesis work (with Mike Liu) is building a volume-limited sample of ultracool dwarfs (brown dwarfs and very low-mass stars) out to 25 parsecs, covering two-thirds of the sky and including roughly 400 objects, four times larger than the most complete sample to date. I will use parallaxes to establish membership and high-resolution imaging to determine multiplicity. My goal is to present the first comprehensive picture of the local ultracool field population.

I'm currently working on two research projects. I have also worked with Jonathan Williams, investigating the gas content of protoplanetary disks and how it changes as the disks evolve.

I grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and Geneva, Switzerland. After getting my undergraduate degree in physics and astronomy at Haverford College, I decided to try high school teaching for a couple of years. That quickly turned into fifteen wonderful years at Punahou School, plus a couple of years traveling and living in Boulder, CO. Now I've returned to my first love, astronomy, where I'm enjoying research, the daily intellectual stretch and the chance to do a lot of coding!

Please explore these pages, using the links at the top of the page. You can find my CV here.