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Tom P. Ray
Tom P. Ray

Tom P. Ray

Tom Ray's interest in astronomy was sparked at an early age while out walking one night with his "Big Brother." Looking up he saw what must have been a meteor storm, although he didn't know it at the time. Instead, like the proverbial Chicken Little, he was sure the sky was falling! He bought his first telescope when he was 12 and around the same time joined the local astronomical society. During his final year at school Tom decided to pursue a career in astronomy. When he mentioned this to his career's teacher, she said: "That's a great idea, but what real job would you like?"

After completing his primary degree in Trinity College Dublin, Tom did an MSc and PhD in radio astronomy and plasma astrophysics at Jodrell Bank and at the University of Manchester. Subsequently he spent time in the University of Sussex, England and the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy in Heidelberg, Germany before returning to his native Ireland. Currently he is Professor of Astrophysics in the Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies. Tom's main area of interest is star formation although he has also dabbled in quasars, comets and archaeo-astronomy (the study of ancient astronomical sites like Stonehenge). He has been a Principal Investigator and a Co-Investigator on several HST programs.

Married with 3 children (all girls), he likes to consider himself the "token male" as even the pets in his household are female. When not pursuing astronomy, Tom likes to sail the Irish Coast and, like many other Irishmen, drink Guinness.