Dr. Benjamin Sargent is a Support Scientist working with the MIRI and NIRSpec teams. He specializes on the integral field unit (IFU) on each instrument - the Medium Resolution Spectrometer (MRS) on MIRI and the NIRSpec IFU. His functional work includes studying cube-building for both MIRI-MRS and the NIRSpec IFU, helping plan MIRI and NIRSpec calibration activities, and providing instruction and feedback on James Webb Space Telescope observing programs that include MIRI and NIRSpec components, among other duties.
Dr. Sargent’s research focuses on dusty objects - circumstellar dust shells around evolved stars, protoplanetary and debris disks around young stars and young stellar objects (YSOs) in general, and the dusty circumstellar outflows from B[e] supergiant stars. His focus in studying evolved stars is how such stars produce dust and participate in returning matter - both dust and gas - back to their host galaxies. In his studies of YSOs and disks around young stars, he focuses on how such systems evolve toward becoming planetary systems. In studying B[e] supergiants, he seeks to learn more about these mysterious objects, especially how their dusty disks form.
He began as a graduate student in 2002 at the University of Rochester in Rochester, NY working with his research advisor, Dr. Bill Forrest, and the Spitzer Space Telescope IRS_Disks Guaranteed Time Observing (GTO) team, exploring the best means of reducing Infrared Spectrograph (IRS) data from Spitzer and studying the evolution of protoplanetary disks, debris disks, and YSOs in general. After finishing his Ph. D. work, he joined STScI in 2008 as a postdoc, working with the Surveying the Agents of a Galaxy’s Evolution (SAGE) Spitzer Legacy team led by Dr. Margaret Meixner, studying mass loss from asymptotic giant branch (AGB) and other evolved stars. In 2012, he began working at a postdoctoral position at Rochester Institute of Technology, working with Dr. Joel Kastner to continue studies of YSOs and disks around young stars, mass loss from evolved stars, and also B[e] supergiant stars. From 2016 to present, he has been working again at STScI as a Support Scientist.
PhD in Physics and Astronomy, University of Rochester
MA in Physics, University of Rochester
BS in Mathematics, Davidson College
- Evolution of protoplanetary and debris disks to planetary systems
- Mass loss from evolved stars
- Galactic life cycle of matter
Research Topics: Star Formation, Histories, and Evolution; Dust
ORCID ID: 0000-0001-9855-8261