I was born in Olympia, WA. I did my undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in Seattle where I got my bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics (2002). I earned my PhD at New Mexico State University (2008) in Las Cruces, New Mexico, studying the mysterious sprectral signatures of molecules/dust in galaxies. My interests in science are primarily rooted in the interstellar medium, astrochemistry and astrobiology. I am now in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI). I split my time working on NASA education and public outreach (E/PO) projects and continuing my research work with Karl Gordon, also at STScI. Besides E/PO and science, I also enjoy being proactive in public policy and teaching.
"All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike - and yet it is the most precious thing we have."
"Fear of things invisible is the natural seed of that which every one in himself calleth religion."
Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (1651)
"It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts."
Sherlock Holmes, in Arthur Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia (1891)
"[I]gnorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science."
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man (1871)
"We must not believe the many, who say that only free people ought to be educated, but we should rather believe the philosophers who say
that only the educated are free."
Epictetus, Roman Philosopher and former slave, Discourses
"We also know how cruel the truth often is, and we wonder whether delusion is not more consoling."
Henri Poincare (1854-1912)
"Why should we subsidize intellectual curiousity?"
Ronald Reagan, Campaign speech 1980
"There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness."
George Washington, address to Congress, January 8, 1790
"It is not the function of our government to keep the citizens from falling into error; it is the function of the citizen to keep the government from falling into error."
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson, 1950
"There is no way back into the past. The choice is the Universe - or nothing."
"The Bible tells you how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go."
Pope John Paul II, quoting Galileo Galilei
"Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Can you establish their rule on Earth?"
The Book of Job
"A time would come when Men should be able to stretch out their Eyes . . . they should see the Planets like our Earth."
Christopher Wren, Inauguration Speech, Gresham College, 1657
"Do there exist many worlds, or is there but a single world? This is one of the most noble and exalted questions in the study of Nature."
Albertus Magnus, 13th century
"We had the sky, up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they were made, or only just happened."
Mark Twain, Huckleberry Finn
"Some foolish men declared that a Creator made the world. The doctrine that the world was created is ill-advised, and should be rejected. If God created the world, where was He before creation? . . . How could God have made the world without any raw material? If you say He made this first, and then the World, you are faced with an endless regression . . . Know that the world is uncreated, as time itself is, without beginning and end."
The Mahapurana, (The Great Legend), Jinasena (India, 9th century)
"To what purpose should I trouble myself in searching out the secrets of the stars, having death or slavery continually before my eyes?"
A question put to Pythagoras by Anaxinenes (c. 600 B.C.)
"How vast those Orbs must be, and how inconsiderable this Earth, the Theatre upon which all our mighty Designs all our Navigations, and all our Wars are transacted, is when compared to them. A very fit consideration, and matter of Reflection, for those Kings and Princes who sacrifice the Lives of so many People, only to flatter their Ambition in being Masters of some pitiful corner of this small spot."
Christiaan Huygens, New Conjectures Concerning the Planetary Worlds, Their Inhabitants and Productions, c. 1690
"The Church says the Earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the Church."