Institute of Astronomy

- Luis Welbanks


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Office: Hoyle H29
Office Tel: (01223) 766645
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Research Themes: Star Formation and Exoplanets

Research Keywords: Planets, Spectroscopy, Theory


I am interested in characterizing the atmospheres of exoplanets. My work, under the supervision of Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan, focuses on the interpretation of transmission spectra using both retrievals and forward models. Some of my work has focused on the model considerations that allow for constraints in the chemical composition of exoplanet atmospheres along with the degeneracies associated with retrievals of transmission spectra (Welbanks & Madhusudhan, 2019). I have also participated in the interpretation of ground-based observations of hot Jupiters. Some of these works have suggested a rich and complex chemistry in the atmospheres of exoplanets through the first detection of lithium in an exoplanet atmosphere (WASP-127b, Chen et al. 2017) and indications of aluminum oxide (WASP-33b, von Essen et al. 2019).

Selected papers



Astronomy PhD, Institute of Astronomy, Cambridge, UK. Supervisor: Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan.


Master of Science, Physics and Astronomy (Astrophysics). University of Calgary. Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Rachid Ouyed.


Research assistant. Supervisor: Dr. Rachid Ouyed. Quark Nova Project, University of Calgary, Canada


Research assistant. Supervisor: Dr. Nasser Moazzen-Ahmadi. Institute for Quantum Science and Technology, University of Calgary, Canada


Student participant. The Canada-Norway Sounding Rocket student rocket and exchange program, CaNoRock, sponsored by the Norwegian Space Centre and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). NAROM (Norwegian Centre for Space-related Education), Andoya, Norway


Bachelor of Science with Honours, double major (Physics & Astrophysics). University of Calgary. Canada.


Student participant at the Dr. Bessie F. Lawrence International Summer Science Institute. Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.


Student participant at the youth science workshop (Taller de Ciencia para Jóvenes) at the National Institute for Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE). Puebla, Mexico. 



PhD Astronomy. University of Cambridge: Supervisor: Dr. Nikku Madhusudhan (2017-present)

Master of Science Physics and Astronomy (Astrophysics). University of Calgary. Canada. Supervisor: Dr. Rachid Ouyed (2015-2017)

Bachelor of Science with Honours, double major (Physics & Astrophysics) (2011-2015)

Awards and Prizes

  • 2020. Murdin Prize, Institute of Astronomy. University of Cambridge.
  • 2017-present. Gates Cambridge Scholar. University of Cambridge. 
  • 2016. Scholarship for Graduate International Research by the Education Ministry of Mexico
  • 2016, 2015 College Scholar at the University of Calgary
  • 2015 Department Scholarship, University of Calgary
  • 2015 International Student Scholarship, University of Calgary 
  • 2015-present National Council for Science and Technology (CONACyT, Mexico) Scholar 
  • 2015 President’s Award, University of Calgary  
  • 2015, 2013 Dr. Cal Waddell Award, University of Calgary 
  • 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 Centre for International Students and Study Abroad (CISSA) Undergraduate Awards for International Students, University of Calgary 
  • 2014, 2013 Fujda Family Scholarship in Astrophysics, University of Calgary 
  • 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 Faculty of Science Dean's List.
  • 2013 P.U.R.E. (Program for Undergraduate Research Experience) Awards, University of Calgary 
  • 2013 Scholars Academy Program, University of Calgary 
  • 2013 Silver Medal at the University Physics Competition, sponsored by the American Physical Society and the American Astronomical Society.
  • 2011, 2010 University of Calgary International Baccalaureate Diploma Scholarship
  • 2011, 2010 President's Scholarships, University of Calgary 
  • 2010 Dean's Merit Awards - Faculty of Science, University of Calgary 
  • 2010 Centre for International Students and Study Abroad (CISSA) Awards for International Students 

Teaching experience

  • 2019: Supervisor for Structure and Evolution of Stars
  • 2016-2017: Physics MCAT course instructor. The Princeton Review, Canada.
  • 2015-2017: Teaching Assistant. University of Calgary, Canada. (Optics and Electromagnetism,  Introduction to Astrophysics, Applied Physics Laboratory I)
  • 2012-2017: Physics and mathematics tutor. Students’ Union. University of Calgary, Canada


Page last updated: 13 October 2020 at 17:14