Brian Wu believes Earth is currently, steadily progressing to a point where it will one day be uninhabitable. He also believes that the search for a habitable world other than Earth is something that must be undertaken by all of humanity. He’s certainly doing his part—although only a sophomore in high school, Brian helped to discover a low-mass Circumbinary Planet—one of only 21 currently known to humans—using ground-based Radial Velocity spectrometers. (A circumbinary planet is a planet that orbits two stars rather than one.) Wu believes the discovery of this extremely rare system calls into question the origin of our solar system, and it hints at the fact that there could be many other interesting worlds out in the universe that are yet undiscovered—maybe even some in the fabled Goldilocks zone that could theoretically sustain human life.
Currently a junior at the Horace Mann School in New York City, Brian Wu has had an immense interest in anything related to aerospace engineering and astronomy since a very early age. Over the past year, he has been working on a graduate-level research project at the University of Florida, which led to the tentative discoveries of nine Giant Planets, two Brown Dwarfs, and the first low-mass Circumbinary Planet to be detected using Doppler spectroscopy. His passion for astronomy stems from a desire to sustain the human race should an apocalyptic event render the Earth uninhabitable. In 2017, he was honored as a semifinalist of the SIEMENS Competition in Math, Science, and Technology. In May 2018, he was named an Intel ISEF Finalist as well. In his spare time, Brian enjoys experimenting with homemade rocket engines, basketball, squash, and long-distance running. His most passionate athletic interests cover the NFL, NBA, and College Basketball. Brian will be continuing his research over the next several years, with the ultimate goal of discovering potentially habitable Earth-sized terrestrial planets. In college, Brian aspires to double major in aerospace engineering and business management.