Greene is accustomed to working in remote places — she also visits telescopes in Chile's Atacama Desert and in Hawaii, and she obtains images from an even more distant source, the Hubble Space Telescope. But she always brings back what she learns to share with others. In addition to her research and teaching at Princeton, Greene mentors undergraduates, gives talks at amateur astronomy clubs, and inspires some of the most challenging students — New Jersey state prison inmates — to love algebra.
Greene became interested in astronomy as a freshman at Yale University. "I love that astronomy answers very basic questions about the universe and how we came to be here," she said. "These are questions that everyone is interested in."
The big question occupying Greene these days is the relationship between galaxies and black holes, objects so dense that not even light can escape their gravitational pull. Once thought mysterious and rare, researchers have come to realize that black holes are surprisingly common: most large galaxies, including the Milky Way, play host to a resident supermassive black hole, which is millions to billions of times more massive than our sun.
Greene was drawn to studying black holes at Harvard University, where she conducted her thesis work. She came to Princeton in 2006 as a Carnegie-Princeton Joint Postdoctoral Fellow, which gave her access to the Magellan telescopes built by the Carnegie Institution of Science and located at the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile. After completing her postdoctoral fellowship, she served on the faculty at the University of Texas-Austin before joining the Princeton faculty in 2011.
For the full story: http://www.princeton.edu/research/news/features/a/?id=15266