interest in astronomy and physics likely had early roots in growing
up in a dark suburb where the summer nights unveiled the rich tapestry
of stars overhead. I was not a child telescope operator however,
as my fundamental orientation is to bright sun and hot weather best
enjoyed on the shores of an ocean or bouncing off a diving board
into a blue pool.
I grew to like sciences as my favorite subjects -
opening new ways to view the world around us. In my teens and in
college, being in science was also fairly radical, set one apart,
and cultivated deeper and more analytic thought patterns in those
rebel years. Being involved in physical sciences was quite diverse
from the mainstream studies of even the most rogue students in the
60's and 70's.
My professional interest in Astronomy and Physics
was focussed more formally in graduate school. One has to make a
choice and narrow down what to study, and the combination of the
two slightly different physical science disciplines was attractive,
although Biology and Physics as a combined thread of endeavor was
a strong pull. My expertise is in stellar populations, to study
star clusters such as the globular clusters and the rich clusters
in the companion galaxy to our own, M33. But astronomical research
is only a piece; the building and bringing to operation instrumentation,
that is, "getting one's hands dirty", was an interest
for me. I worked in the Physics research laboratories all through
undergraduate school but my greatest opportunity to participate
in instrumentation was at the national observatories in Arizona
but also Hawaii.
also have had a strong interest in information technology and in
all things new and inventive. For several years at Space Telescope,
I have been responsible for bringing the news and latest results
from Hubble to the public. Further, by creating an education program,
we have been able to make Hubble not only fun, but relevant to students,
teachers and families.
My urge to pursue the new and different drove me on
to found a new entity in our institution to develop technology and
foster innovation. Examples included early webcasting of live events
and merging broadcast media with the internet to make the riches
of Hubble ever more accessible. Therefore, Heritage is a natural
extension of my interest in bringing science, particularly astronomy
to the public in new, better, and unusual ways. Science is art.
My current passion is science visualization. How can
visualization assist us in understanding the real world and speculating
on other possibilities through simulation? I and my colleagues are
working on some new and exciting ways to visualize astronomical
data. Stay tuned!
The rest of my life, filled with flying, indoor
climbing, aerobatics, skydiving, scuba, myriad other activities
and a love of dogs (I mean big dogs) allows me to view the planet
from unusual perspectives including in free fall and upside down.
I would not have it any other way.
CC on Wikipedia.