I'm a research scientist at the High Energy Density physics group at the Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE). I am broadly interested in a host of Earth and planetary science problems that relate to the marked  diversity of our own solar and exoplanets’ structural architectures, evolution and habitability. I also maintain strong interest in extreme conditions physics, fusion, laser and spectroscopy science. My research in these areas has been covered by the NYTimes, BBC, Scientific American and several other international news outlets. Before joining LLE, I have held several research and academic appointments at the Lyman Laboratory of Physics in Harvard, Max Plank Institute for Quantum Optics in Munich, Stanford University, and MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and space Research.

Image credit:LLE


High pressure geo and planetary chemistry

I investigate the processes that govern the chemical cycling of volatile elements (H,C,O), with emphasis on water and carbon, between the surface and the internal resevoirs of terrestrial planets. 

Spectroscopy, opacity, charge and mass transport measurements 

I build new instrumentation to characterize the optical and electronic conduction states of several materials at varying conditions that span irradiated atmospheres to deep interiors. I am interested in the atmospheric opacity of gas giants, thermal and electrical conductivity of earth mantle, and rock-water interaction.

Thermal, magnetic states of extrasolar planets

I am interested in developing better models for the thermal and magnetic evolution of terrestrial and giant planets. 

Extreme condition physics

I study the effects of degeneracy and strong correlation on the microphysical states of extreme matter


2013 - 2017

Harvard University

PhD in Applied physics 

NASA Earth & Space Science Fellow 2014-2017

The Goldman Sachs Fellow 2014-2015 

2011 - 2013

Harvard University 
AM in Physics

2008 - 2010

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaing
B.Sc. in Physics, Highest Distinction

The 2009 MIT ASO scientific Achievement Award


2005 - 2008

American University in Cairo 
LEAD scholar, "Egypt's most prestigious leadership scholarship"

Laboratory for Laser Energetics

© 2023 by M. Zaghoo

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