Anybody who knew Jesús Maíz-Apellániz
as a kid would probably have
predicted that he would go on to become an astronomer.
After all, how many 6-year-olds memorize the names
of the only eight stars colder than the sun from
a book (and tell them to basically every one who
come to their house, whether they are interested
or not)? Jesús, who was born in beautiful
Sebastián in the Basque Country near
the Spanish-French border and grew up in Madrid,
finally ended up traveling thousands of miles to
fulfill his professional wish. He studied at the
California Institute of Technology (
Caltech) and later acquired his Master of Arts
in Astronomy at the
University of California, Berkeley. After that,
he went back to Spain, where he taught for a couple
of years at university, before recently obtaining
his Ph.D. in Astrophysics at the Universidad
Complutense de Madrid.
Although he likes all fields in
astronomy, he is most fascinated by mysteries about
stellar evolution, so he focuses on star formation
in nearby galaxies. Sometimes when he is trying
to solve these mysteries using today's complicated
instruments, huge telescopes and sophisticated computers,
he wonders how the ancient Greeks like Hipparchos,
Ptolemy or Aristarchus were able to calculate, as
correctly as they did, the size of the Earth or
the distance to the Moon without any aid other than
simple measurements and mathematics.
When Jesús is not working
at Space Telescope
Science Institute he likes walking in the countryside
and watching movies - especially with his wife.
And he is still an avid reader, although he does
not insist any more on telling everything he learned
to everybody who happens to come his way.......