project scientist for operations for the webb telescope
Dr. Jane Rigby is an Astrophysicist in the Observational Cosmology Lab at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md, and serves as the Project Scientist for Operations for the James Webb Space Telescope.
Rigby brings to Webb her experience as an active user of the Hubble, Spitzer, Chandra, Herschel, and NuSTAR space telescopes, the Keck telescopes in Hawaii, and the Magellan telescopes in Chile. She has published more than 100 refereed scientific papers. Rigby is also a member of the science team for NASA's NuSTAR mission.
Rigby's scientific interests are centered around how galaxies evolve with time. She is interested in the growth of black holes in the centers of galaxies, the creation in stars of the elements in the periodic table, and the relationships between these parts of galaxy growth. To study these topics, Rigby uses gravitational lensing, a technique that exploits rare, natural telescopes to magnify galaxies, making them much brighter and more stretched out. This technique gives current telescopes a much deeper, sharper view inside the inner workings of galaxies, which provides a "sneak peak" at the capabilities of future telescopes like JWST.
Before coming to Goddard, Rigby was a Spitzer Fellow and Carnegie Fellow at the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, Ca. She holds MS and PhD degrees in Astronomy from the University of Arizona, and a BS degree in Physics and a BS degree in Astronomy from Penn State.
Rigby enjoys sharing the excitement of science with the public, and has given public talks about astronomy and space telescopes to large audiences at the Huntington Library in Pasadena, Ca. and TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, DC.
Outside of work, Rigby's interests include sailing, windsurfing, cooking, and social justice.