Yifan Zhou is an observational astronomer focusing on studying the formation and atmospheric properties of exoplanets. Utilizing advanced space and ground-based telescopes, he conducts research to search for protoplanets, characterize planetary atmospheres and map the evolutionary pathways of planetary systems. His dissertation primarily revolves around using Hubble Space Telescope time-resolved observations to understand the patchy clouds in planetary atmospheres. During his postdoctoral years, he developed new high-contrast imaging techniques that enabled direct constraints on the mass accretion rates of protoplanets.
Zhou earned a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona in 2019 and holds a bachelor’s degree in astronomy from Peking University (2014). He conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Texas at Austin with support from the Harlan J. Smith and 51 Pegasi b fellowships. He is the author of nearly 40 scientific publications.
As an assistant professor of astronomy, Zhou is enthusiastic about leading his team at the College to explore exoplanets using advanced instruments like the James Webb Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope. He is also committed to sharing knowledge and will teach the “Alien Worlds” course for undergraduate students.