Cesar Contreras is currently a post doctoral fellow at the NASA Astrophysics division of the Ames Research Center. The fellowship is managed by Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) and if you would like to know about that program please visit their web site for more information.
Cesar grew up in southern California, where he obtained his bachelor's degree at San Diego State University. He worked in the lab of Professor Andrew L. Cooksy, who introduced him to Astrochemistry. He then went on to obtain his Ph.D. degree from the University of Florida, with an emphasis on Chemical Physics.
Cesar is currently working at the Ames Astrochemistry laboratory with Farid Salama, using a laboratory simulation to study carbon cluster and grain formation in the interstellar medium. Using a pulsed nozzle discharge, ionized or neutral polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) formation and clustering in the gas phase is studied with two complementary spectroscopic techniques, Cavity Ring Down Spectroscopy and Reflectron Time of Flight Mass Spectrometry. The apparatus is specifically designed for the study gas phase cold PAHs and molecules and is referred to as the Interstellar or Circumstellar Simulation Chamber (ISC or CSC).
Cesar's major publications can be found on the Astrochemistry Laboratory's Publications Pages.