Humans of HM – Brian Wu (11)

Andie Goldmacher, Staff Writer

When Earth is no longer habitable and the entire human race is saved by relocation to a habitable planet, it will be Brian Wu (11) you’ll be thanking.

Wu first became interested in astronomy and astrophysics at the age of two, and in 2011, he saw his first rocket launch of the Curiosity Rover being sent to Mars, he said.

Wu believes that Earth is slowly becoming uninhabitable for several reasons, including the extreme fluctuations in weather caused by global warming, he said.

This summer, he worked with a professor at the University of Florida and discovered nine giant planets, one brown dwarf, and three binary stars, as well as a unique circumbinary planet using the radial velocity method, he said.

According to Las Combres Observatory, the radial velocity method uses the center of gravity of a massive star to see if it is moving towards or away from us using blue and red light.

A circumbinary planet orbits two stars rather than one, and there are only about 20 of them that have been discovered, he said. The planet Wu discovered was the first of its kind to be discovered using this method.

These discoveries could change our view of how the solar system was formed and also hint that there may be many more undiscovered worlds in the universe with potential to support human life, he said.

In the future, Wu plans to work on publishing his findings in a leading astronomical journal, he said. The process of publication could take one or two more years.

Wu will give a TEDx talk on October 20th in Jacksonville, Florida. He competed with 300 other candidates to earn one of thirteen slots for a speech.

He continues to explore his interests in astronomy and astrophysics at the school by participating in Spectrum and Apsis Arrow, the aerospace and engineering club, he said.