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.
Marcia Rieke is a Professor of Astronomy at The University of Arizona in Tucson. She received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Physics (S.B. 1972, Ph.D. 1976).
Her current research interests are infrared astronomy and instrumentation. She has been a large supporter and active member of both the HST NICMOS campaign and the Space Infrared Telescope Facility (SIRTF).
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.
Bill Blair is an Astrophysicist and Research Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The Johns Hopkins University . He has been at Johns Hopkins since 1984, and was involved previously in the support of the Astro-1 (December 1990) and Astro-2 (March 1995) space shuttle missions that carried the Hopkins Ultraviolet Telescope into space. Bill's current position is with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) project at Johns Hopkins, where he is Chief of Observatory Operations. (FUSE is a satellite developed by JHU for NASA, and launched June 24, 1999, for a three-year mission. It has recently been granted an extension of mission operations.) In 2002, Bill was appointed as a FUSE Co-Investigator by NASA, and was made Deputy Principal Investigator at JHU. Bill's main scientific interests lie in the areas of gaseous nebulae, supernova remnants and the interstellar medium (the "stuff" out there between the stars).
Believe it or not, Bill also has a life outside astronomy! He enjoys gardening, photography, coin collecting, and spending time with his family. He is a long-time member of Babcock Presbyterian Church in Towson, MD. Bill is married, and he and his wife, Jean, have two children, Amy (17) from Seoul, South Korea, and Jeremy (14) from Calcutta, India.
George Rieke received his B.A. in physics from Oberlin College, and went on to earn his master's degree and doctorate in physics from Harvard University. He is a regents professor in the department of astronomy at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He has been deputy director of Steward Observatory for several decades. Rieke is the principal investigator of the multiband imaging photometer (MIPS), which provides imaging and spectroscopic data at far-infrared wavelengths for the Spitzer Space Telescope. Rieke has worked extensively in the development of innovative far-infrared detector arrays and instrumentation, and their astronomical applications. He helped develop the first infrared-optimized telescope and is the lead scientist on a mid-infrared instrument for the James Webb Space Telescope. He is the author of the book, "Detection of Light: From the Ultraviolet to the Submillimeter."
Almudena Alonso-Herrero is currently an assistant astronomer at Steward Observatory, University of Arizona. In 1993, Almudena attended the Vatican Observatory Summer School and then went to Oxford University to work on her PhD as an exchange student. Her research interests include HST/NICMOS observations of Seyfert galaxies, LIRGS, starburst and normal galaxies.
Sabine Mengel got her PhD from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University in Munich in 2001, was a Postdoc at the Sterrewacht Leiden from 2001 to mid-2002 and has been with the User Support Department at the European Souther Observatory in Germany ever since. Sabine's research interests include extragalactic star clusters, interacting galaxies and NIR imaging/spectroscopy. She is doing complementary observations to the HST-optical imaging of the Antennae galaxies: imaging and medium resolution spectroscopy in the near infrared. The spectroscopy is for "weighing" individual star clusters (determination of their dynamical mass).