Regents’ Professor, The University of Arizona
Professor George Rieke led the development of the MIPS instrument for Spitzer and now leads the science team of the Mid-Infrared Instrument for JWST. His current science is focused on the capabilities of these instruments. The MIPS instrument team has documented the incidence, properties, and evolution of planetary debris disks around nearby stars. Debris disks are perhaps the best way to study planetary system evolution after a system emerges from its protoplanetary disk. Rieke’s research team recently discovered that many extreme young debris disks are variable on yearly, or even monthly, timescales. He has done research on a number of other topics besides debris disks. Rieke’s plans for JWST investigations include imaging nearby debris disks deeply enough to detect young ice giant planets to understand how they sculpt debris disks, and obtaining multiple epoch infrared spectra of variable disks.