Speaking with astrophysicist Jason Kalirai is a lesson in perspective. In this episode, Brown Advisory’s Ken Stuzin sits down with Dr. Kalirai to learn how he collaborates across national boundaries to explore the vastness of the universe and find answers to existential questions. As Dr. Kalirai points out, when you look at our planet from space, you see one world with no borders—just land, ocean, air and life—which provides a great antidote to our often polarized experience on Earth.

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Episode Introduction

Ken Stuzin: Back in April, we launched this podcast with a conversation with Jon Meacham, the Pulitzer-prize winning historian. Speaking with Mike Hankin, our CEO, Jon described our current moment as a crucible, one that required citizens to sublimate their personal desires for the common good. He was referring to the pandemic and its economic fallout – this was a month before the additional turbulence from the killing of George Floyd and our national reckoning with racial violence and social injustice. Mike and Jon talked about whether and how we could come together to address our challenges in the midst of what often feels like paralyzing polarization.

And yet, in the realm of science – and specifically – in the arena of space science and space exploration, the focus is entirely on working together for the common good. As space scientists tackle big questions – What does it mean to be human? What is our place in the universe? Are we alone? – they collaborate across institutions and across countries…..sometimes with countries which, from a geopolitical standpoint, may be perceived as adversaries.

I’m Ken Stuzin. You’ve heard my voice in the introduction to our podcast – but this week, I have the great pleasure of talking with Jason Kalirai, an astrophysicist and the Mission Area Executive for Civil Space at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab. Talking with Jason about the immense scale of the universe – and the challenge of exploring its mysteries – was, frankly, inspiring. It was a powerful reminder about how shared inspiration and common purpose can bring us closer together.

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Jason Kalirai, Ph.D.

Jason Kalirai, Ph.D.

Mission Area Executive for Civil Space, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

Dr. Jason Kalirai is the Mission Area Executive for Civil Space in the Space Exploration Sector. He joined APL in November 2018 and is leading the implementation of innovative and cost-effective solutions to critical civil space challenges by developing space science missions, instruments, and research programs. Prior to joining APL, Dr. Kalirai served as the multi-mission project scientist at NASA’s Space Telescope Science Institute. He has published over 100 research papers on topics related to stellar and galactic evolution and was won numerous awards for his achievements. Dr. Kalirai earned his Bachelor of Science in physics and astronomy, his Master of Science in astrophysics, and his PhD in astrophysics from the University of British Columbia. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship as a Hubble Fellow at the University of California at Santa Cruz.



Ken Stuzin

Ken Stuzin, CFA

Portfolio Manager, Brown Advisory

Ken is a partner and the portfolio manager of the Large-Cap Growth strategy. Prior to joining the firm, he was a vice president and a large-cap portfolio manager at J.P. Morgan Investment Management in Los Angeles. Previously, Ken worked as a quantitative portfolio strategist in New York, where he advised clients on capital markets issues and strategic asset allocation decisions.



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