Dr. Paul Goudfrooij was born in Amsterdam, The
Netherlands. His choice to pursue a career in astronomy
became crystal clear during his junior year in high
school, when he followed a TV course on astronomy
during which he was totally blown away by the sheer
beauty of astronomical images and the
opportunity to learn exciting information about
the distances and ages of stars, the history of
the universe, and the origin of the chemical elements.
He studied for his undergraduate degree at the
University of Leiden (a half-hour train ride away
from home, which felt much more significant in the
small country of the Netherlands than it does in
the U.S.). He obtained his Ph.D. in astronomy from
the University of Amsterdam, where his thesis work
entailed an extensive optical survey of dust and
ionized gas in elliptical galaxies. He then spent
2.5 years as postdoctoral fellow at the European
Southern Observatory in Garching near Munich, Germany,
before jumping onto the opportunity to join the
scientific staff of STScI in 1996. He is currently
in charge of the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph
Since Paul became acquainted with the exquisitely
sharp eye of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), much
of his research has focused on globular clusters
in external galaxies, because HST allows one to
study these clusters in detail even in distant galaxies.
Globular clusters are among the few observable fossil
records of the formation of galaxies, and hence
their properties can tell us very interesting information
about how galaxies were assembled.
When out of the office, Paul and his wife Karen
enjoy various sports, hiking, camping, photography,
cuddling their cats, cooking, and music.
François Schweizer is a staff astronomer at the
Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, California.
He received his Licentiate in Astronomy from the
University of Bern, Switzerland, and his Ph.D. from
the University of California at Berkeley. After
two years as a post-doctoral Fellow at the Carnegie
Observatories (then named Hale Observatories) and
five years as an astronomer at Cerro Tololo Inter-American
Observatory in Chile, Dr. Schweizer returned to
the U.S. in 1981 to join the staff of the
Carnegie Institution of Washington, first at its
Department of Terrestrial Magnetism in Washington,
D.C., and then at its Observatories in Pasadena.
In addition to his research into the formation
of globular clusters, Dr. Schweizer studies the
structure, formation, and evolution of galaxies.
For many years, he has focused his work on colliding
and merging galaxies. Once thought to be interesting
but rare events, collisions and mergers are now
perceived as one of the dominant processes governing
galaxy formation and evolution. To obtain new data,
he collaborates with teams using the Hubble Space
Telescope as well as the Chandra X-ray and Spitzer
Infrared Telescopes, and travels regularly to Chile
to observe with the Magellan 6.5-meter telescopes
at Carnegie's Las Campanas Observatory.
Dr. Schweizer is a member of the American Astronomical
Society, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific,
The Planetary Society, and the International Astronomical
Union. Though fascinated by cosmic collisions, he
tries to avoid collisions while driving, bicycling,
and operating a digitally controlled model railroad.
He and his wife Linda have enjoyed
raising four daughters.
Brad Whitmore is an astronomer at the Space Telescope
Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland.
He specializes in collisions between galaxies and
the star clusters that form during these
collisions. He received his PhD in astronomy at
the University of Michigan in 1980, was a postdoctoral
fellow at the Department of Terrestrial Magnetism
until 1982, taught at Arizona State University in
1983, and has been at STScI ever since. His contributions
range from helping to design the observing proposal
system at STScI, being the group lead for the Wide
Field Planetary Camera 2 Group, and the Division
Head for the Instrument Divsion. His present position
is Deputy Division Head of the Science Division.
Brad's "outside" interests include hiking,
mountain climbing, adventure racing, and orienteering,
where he has been the national champion in his age
groups three times. He lives on a small hobby farm
with his wife Julie, four llamas, a dozen sheep,
thirty chickens, eight cats, and their English springer
Plum. His son Ian is an established artist in Washington
DC, and his daughter Jocelyn is a student at the
Center for Cartoon Studies in Vermont.
Diane Karakla hails from Worcester, Massachusetts.
She became interested in Astronomy as a young girl
peering through her brother's telescope from the
back yard of her home (long ago -- when stars could
still be seen from the city at night). Her interest
in Astronomy really blossomed when she learned that
the Sun was actually a star and that galaxies are
made of billions of stars! After years of wonderment
at the sky and its endless mysteries, she earned
her B.S. degree in Astronomy and Physics from the
University of Mass. and a M.A. in Astronomy in 1985
from the University of VA in Charlottesville. She
jumped at the opportunity to experience a career
in astronomy through summer internships at the Maria
Mitchell Observatory and at NRAO, which served to
cement her desire to pursue a career in the field.
In 1987, she began work as a data analyst at STScI.
Her interest in Astronomy was fostered by her parents,
who worked hard at "normal" jobs to provide
her with a good education. Her husband John, from
whom she derives her somewhat unusual last name,
shares her sense of humor and interest in Astronomy.
He builds "astronomer-proof" electronic
equipment for use on radio telescopes at UMass.
Diane currently works as a Science and Instrument
Support Specialist with STScI and, besides dabbling
in data analysis at every opportunity, she
coordinate's the user support effort for the Instruments
Division. Her scientific interests are broad but
she's especially intrigued by galaxy formation and
evolution. To her, the most inspiring (and frustrating!)
thing about Astronomy is that there's always something
new and interesting to learn...the mysteries never
She's a decent quilter and loves to learn new techniques
from the pros. She also enjoys trying new ethnic
recipes occassionally, and just spending time outdoors
(hiking and camping) with her husband and dog "Skye".