The Woman Who Might Find Us Another Earth

Sara Seager is a tenured professor of physics and planetary science who won a “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 2013. Her area of expertise is exoplanets – planets that orbit stars other than our son – specifically the search for a planet that might contain life.

Chris Jones profiles Seagar for the New York Times. She emerges as the very picture of the obsessed scientist: She speaks in an unmodulated breathless tone, never learned to manage money, doesn’t celebrate birthdays, Christmas or holidays, never learned to cook.

It would be easy to pigeonhole someone like Seagar as a soulless human computer. But this profile is only half-focused on her work; the other half deals with her immense grief over becoming a young widow, struggling to raise children alone, and eventually finding friends and connection with people.

Mitch Wagner @MitchWagner