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Donald Garnett

Donald Garnett

Dr. Donald Garnett is an Assistant Astronomer at Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona. His educational background includes a B.S. from the University of Michigan in 1982, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Astronomy from the University of Texas at Austin in 1986 and 1989. As a postdoc, he received several fellowships that gave him research experience at Space Telescope Science Institute and the University of Minnesota. He has been at Steward Observatory since 1998. When not doing science, he enjoys hiking, reading, photography and working in the garden.

"I was first bitten by the astronomy bug when I was nine years old, when an uncle gave me a book on astronomy as a Christmas gift. Poring over the beautiful photographs, I was struck by a sense of mystery and wondered what lay hidden in those depths of space. (A healthy interest in science fiction only made this worse!) The first thing I did after getting my first job was to buy a telescope with which tried my best to study the skies through thebright skyglow of Detroit, Michigan. I've always had an interest in the sciences, and almost decided to major in chemistry in college, but the astronomy infection was too much! My main scientific interests are in
understanding the origin of the chemical elements and how they are distributed within and among galaxies. Amazingly, almost all of the elements that make up our bodies were made inside stars, so if we study how the abundance of these elements changes with time, we may have a better understanding of how (and possibly where) life arose in the Universe. An added bonus is that we learn something about the history of star formation and the evolution of galaxies over time from the distribution of elements within the stars and gas. I also enjoy studying the beautiful gaseous nebulae where young stars are found, such as the famous Eagle Nebula "pillars" imaged by HST a few years ago,and the very nice N44C shown here. I think it's impossible to become bored with looking at such intricate structures - they each have their own 'personality', so to speak!"