Look, I'll be honest. Sitting down with a hyper-intelligent scientist and discussing his or her work for a few hours isn't always the most socially comfortable situation. Fascinating? Absolutely. But there can be quite a few awkward silences as well.
Astrophysicist Gaspar Bakos, one of this year's Brilliant Ten, eased my pre-interview jitters right away when he suggested we leave his tiny office in Harvard's Center for Astrophysics and head up to the roof. Up there, standing around the corner from what was one of the world's great observatories a century ago, he proceeded to clearly and comfortably explain the intricacies of his technique for hunting down extrasolar planets. So I went back with a camcorder, to capture him using his water bottle as a stand-in for a planet, a star and even a telephoto lens. Enjoy. —Gregory Mone