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Rodger Thompson

Rodger Thompson

(University of Arizona)

Rodger Thompson, a professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, was born in Texarkana, Texas. His family moved to Marietta, Ohio at the age of one and then to Cuyahoga Falls Ohio at the age of 3. He stayed in Cuyahoga Falls through high school where he developed an early interest in science, baseball, and music. Not being good enough to make a living at the last two he decided that science was the easiest of the three.

Thompson then went to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he earned both his Bachelors and Doctorate in Physics. While at MIT he became interested in astrophysics and space sciences. He did early graduate work in space x-ray astronomy but switched to infrared astronomy to avoid getting entangled in large space projects.

After graduation from MIT Dr. Thompson became a professor at the University of Arizona to exploit their ground-based infrared astronomy facilities. After several years of work in the areas of stellar nucleosynthesis, star formation, and Active Galactic Nuclei (AGNs), the wisdom of his graduate student days eroded and he became the principal investigator for NICMOS for the Hubble Space Telescope, thus becoming hopelessly ensnared in one of the largest scientific space projects of all time. He survived this decision, barely, and is now utilizing the data obtained with NICMOS to pursue investigations in cosmology, AGNs and star formation.

His current science interests include the measurement of the fundamental constants in the early universe. He is on the Board of Directors of the Large Binocular Telescope (LBT), as well as on the Standing Review Board for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

When not involved in doing science he sometimes escapes to gain the wisdom obtained by watching baseball games and for a few reckless days skiing in Telluride. He also pretends to be a real cook and enjoys cooking dinner, particularly Italian style. His friends are tolerant of this most of the time.

Rodger Thompson's science team:
Marc Sauvage, Robert Kennicutt, Charles Engelbracht, and Leonardo Vanzi.