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Paul Goudfrooij

Paul Goudfrooij


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. His functional contributions have included leading the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph Group and being the Information Technology Project Scientist. After a Sabbatical leave, Paul is currently a member of the James Webb Instruments Team.

Since Paul became acquainted with the exquisitely sharp eye of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), much of his research has focused on globular clusters, 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 major star formation events of galaxies, and hence their properties can tell us relevant information about how galaxies were assembled.

The Hubble image of NGC 1846 was created from HST data from program 10595 for which Paul Goudfrooij was the lead scientist. His team includes T. Puzia (Universidad Catolica, Santiago, Chile), V. Kozhurina-Platais (STScI), and R. Chandar (University of Toledo).