Dr. Alessandra Aloisi was born and raised in Bologna, Italy. After
high school she took up the study of astronomy, encouraged by the
example of her female mathematics and physics teacher. This started a
journey towards the knowledge of the universe, making true a childhood
dream of discovering the unknown. Alessandra received both a "laurea" degree and a Ph.D. degree from Bologna University. Then in 1999 she moved to Baltimore in the USA, where she has worked since. Following a postdoctoral position at Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) and an Associate Research Scientist position at Johns Hopkins University, she became a staff member of the European Space Agency (ESA). She now works on ESA assignment at STScI, where she performs astronomical research and supports the mission of the Hubble Space Telescope.
Alessandra is an expert on the subject of star-forming galaxies, which she has approached both from the theoretical and the observational point of view. Her research focuses on the measurement and interpretation of the stellar and metal content, star-formation history and evolution of these galaxies. She is a regular user of Hubble and continues to be fascinated by its tremendous powers, both for scientific inquiry and for revealing the beauty of the cosmos. "The wonderful Hubble images I have had the fortune of working with since the beginning of my astronomical journey," Alessandra says, "have strengthened the conviction in me that I did not choose this professional field by chance: the love for astronomy has always been inside me as a strong desire to discover knew worlds and understand the reasons for their existence."
While much of Alessandra's research has used the imaging potential of Hubble, her work for the mission has mostly focused on spectroscopy. She started as an Instrument Scientist for the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS). As Lead of the STScI Team for STIS and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS) she now manages a group of people that is responsible for the calibration and support of both these instruments. STIS was the main ultraviolet and optical spectrograph on Hubble from 1997-2004 and should be repaired by Space Shuttle astronauts during the next Hubble Servicing Mission (SM4) planned for September 2008. COS will be the new and more powerful ultraviolet spectrograph that will be installed on HST during the same Servicing Mission. In her technical work on COS Alessandra is guided by her experience with the FUSE satellite, which she has used in her research to study the interstellar medium in star-forming galaxies.
I was born in the beautiful city of Rome. When I was about 10 years old, my family and I moved to Anguillara, a nice little town on the Bracciano lake, about 25 miles away from Rome.
Since I was a child, I loved scientific matters. When I was 14 years old, I decided to attend a scientific high school where I could learn a lot about mathematics, physics, biology, and science in general. I was particularly fascinated by the astronomy class that was held during the last (fifth) year at the high school. Probably, that was when I started thinking about astronomy as a job!
I decided to attend Astronomy at the University. In order to do that I moved to Bologna, since a pure astronomy course was not available in Rome. I quickly realized that astronomy means first of all a lot of mathemathics and physics. The years at the University had a deep impact on my way of dealing with both scientific issues and the every-day life. I received a "laurea" degree in Astronomy in 2001 from Bologna University.
Later on I moved to Trieste, where I attended the International School for Advanced Studies for four years. That was a new and very interesting experience. Little by little I started to undertsand what it means to work as an astronomy researcher. It is not all in studying books and learning equations! You really need to invest in creativity, invention and passion in order to succeed in this field. I obtained a Ph.D. in Astrophysics in 2005 from Trieste.
At the end of 2005 I landed in Baltimore, USA, where I currently live. I am working as a postdoc at Space Telescope Science Institute.
My astronomical interests focus on stellar populations in galaxies. I have been working on young star-forming dwarf galaxies and on massive old ones, both from the theoretical and observational point of view. My research focuses on the interpretation of the stellar and metal content in galaxies as a tool to understand how they form and evolve.
Claus Leitherer has been with STScI since 1988. He is currently Associate Astronomer in the JWST Division. His prime responsibility is the support of MIRI. He is also a member of the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph IDT, a future HST instrument which will be installed in 2008.
Main scientific interests are atmospheres and evolution of hot stars, resolved and unresolved massive stellar populations, the stellar content and interstellar medium of star-forming galaxies, starburst activity in galaxies, and spectrophotometric evolution models of galaxies.
Jennifer Mack is a Science and Instrument Specialist at the Space Telescope Institute where she is actively involved in both scientific research and instrument calibration for Hubble.
Growing up under the dark skies of southern Colorado sparked her initial interest in astronomy. In high school, she was inspired by the simple beauty of physics and the power of mathematics in describing the universe around her.
Jennifer received her Bachelor's degree in physics from the University of Denver in 1993 and her Master's in astrophysics from the University of Minnesota in 1996. She left her beloved Rocky Mountains for an opportunity to work with the awe-inspiring images of the Hubble Telescope.
She is currently a member of the Advanced Camera for Surveys instrument team where she is responsible for the photometric calibration of the detectors. She has also worked on a number of intriguing science projects with HST, including a mosaic of the Hubble Deep Field, star formation in the SMC, galaxy morphology from surface brightness photometry, and cluster cooling flow nebulae. She is particularly interested in galaxy cluster dynamics and cosmology.
Outside of astronomy, Jennifer enjoys travelling, playing the guitar, camping, and nature photography.
Marco was born and raised in Padova, Italy. His love of astronomy started at about the age of 7 when he started playing around with a very small (~ 1") Galilean telescope. He grew up with the classical 60mm refractor in the backyard.
Marco received the laura degree in astronomy at the University of Padova in 1994 when he started his scientific collaboration with STScI. In 1998 he moved to Baltimore to start his collaboration with the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) Team at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
In 1999 he obtained his Ph.D. in space science and technology from the Center of Studies and Activities for Space of the University of Padova. He was employed at JHU as a post doc first and as Associate Researach Scientist as member of the ACS team working on the detector team and being involved in the ground and on-orbit calibration of the instrument.
In October 2003 he started working for the European Space Agency in the Research and Scientific Support Department at the Space Telescope Science Institute where he is currently lead of the ACS and WFPC2 team. He played a major role in the photometric calibration of ACS and he is interested in the effects of the radiation damage in space-operated CCDs.
Marco's research interests are in the are of the low mass star population in young clusters in the Magellanic Clouds, Starburst Galaxies and Super Star Clusters.
(INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna)
I was born in Florence, Italy and raised in Rome. When I was attending high-school I already knew I wanted to be an astronomer, but I didn't know exactly why...
I got my “laurea” degree in Astronomy in Rome and then went to Yale, with an Italian fellowship. I chose Yale because a good friend advised me that there I could work with "the best person to learn how to do work in astronomy"- Beatrice Tinsley. My boyfriend was already on the east coast, at CFA in Cambridge, so I thought I'd better go as soon as possible. I did; it was 1980; and thanks to this rapid decision I had the chance of spending one year with Beatrice, who prematurely died in March 1981. Beatrice gave me both the cultural bases and the technical tools to work on the chemical evolution of galaxies, which is still one of my major research fields. Even more importantly, perhaps, she introduced me to the "woman's approach to astronomy."
Back to Italy, I got a position at the Bologna Observatory, where I'm still working now as a full professor. From what I've seen in these twenty years, I do think that the woman's way in astronomy is great.
I'm still working on galaxy evolution, both from the theoretical and the observational points of view, interpreting observational data on star clusters and galaxies, deriving star formation histories, and computing chemical evolution models for galaxies of different morphological types.
Roeland van der Marel
Roeland van der Marel was born in the Netherlands. He acquired a love for science at an early age and turned his curiosity into the nature of the Universe into his profession. He obtained degrees in astronomy and mathematics at Leiden University after which NASA awarded him a Hubble Fellowship to come to the United States to continue his research.
In three years at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton he became a frequent user of the Hubble Space Telescope. He then moved to Baltimore, where he is now a tenured member of the scientific staff of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), as well as an Adjunct Professor at nearby Johns Hopkins University.
At STScI Roeland previously led a team in charge of the scientific operations of Hubble's Advanced Camera for Surveys and Second Wide Field and Planetary Camera. He now manages a team that studies the telescope structure and focus for both Hubble and its planned successor, the James Webb Space Telescope. Roeland is an expert on black holes and the structure of galaxies. To study these topics he combines Hubble Space Telescope observations of galaxies with theoretical models based on the laws of physics.
Among other things, his research has contributed to the discovery that supermassive black holes, millions to billions of times heavier than our sun, exist in the centers of most galaxies. He has authored more than one hundred papers in scientific journals, books and other publications. His research and the images that he obtained with the Hubble Space Telescope have been discussed on television and radio, and in newspapers, magazines and museum exhibits.
Roeland has been the recipient of various honors for his work, including the 1994 Leiden University Kok Prize, the 2003 Science Award of the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA), the 2003 Immigrant Achievement Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation, and the Top Prize of the 2005 Pirelli Awards. The latter recognized Roeland's internet project "Black Holes: Gravity's Relentless Pull'' as the best internet/multimedia work worldwide devoted to the communication of science and technology.