My interest in astronomy and physics likely had
early roots in growing up in a dark suburb where
the summer nights unveiled the rich tapestry of
stars overhead. I was not a child telescope operator
however, as my fundamental orientation is to bright
sun and hot weather best enjoyed on the shores of
an ocean or bouncing off a diving board into a blue
I grew to like sciences as my favorite subjects--opening
new ways to view the world around us. In my teens
and in college, being in science was also fairly
radical, set one apart, and cultivated deeper and
more analytic thought patterns in those rebel years.
Being involved in physical sciences was quite different
from the mainstream studies of even the most rogueish
students in the 60's and 70's.
My professional interest in astronomy and physics
became more focussed and formal in graduate school.
One has to make a choice and narrow down what to
study, and the combination of the two slightly different
physical science disciplines was attractive, although
biology and physics as a combined thread of endeavor
was a strong pull. My expertise is in stellar populations,
to study star clusters such as the globular clusters
and the rich clusters in the companion galaxy to
our own, M33. But astronomical research is only
a piece; the building and bringing to operation
instrumentation, that is, "getting one's hands dirty,"
was also an interest for me. I worked in the physics
research laboratories all through undergraduate
school, but my greatest opportunity to participate
in instrumentation was at the national observatories
in Arizona and also in Hawaii.
I also have had a strong interest in information
technology and in all things new and inventive.
For several years at STScI, I have been responsible
for bringing the news and latest results from Hubble
to the public. Further, by creating an educational
program, we have been able to make Hubble not only
fun, but relevant to students, teachers, and families.
My urge to pursue the new and different had driven
me on to found a new entity at STScI to develop
technology and foster innovation. Examples include
webcasting of live events, and merging broadcast
media with the internet to make the riches of Hubble
ever more accessible. For me, Hubble Heritage is
a natural extension of my interest in bringing science,
particularly astronomy, to the public in new, better,
and unusual ways. Science is art.
I am currently the deputy of the Community Missions
Office -- the focal point for bringing our wide
Hubble expertise to the science community to create
new scientific missions. The rest of my life, filled
with flying, aerobatics, skydiving, scuba, myriad
other activities, and a love of dogs (I mean big
dogs) allows me to view the planet from unusual
perspectives including in free fall and upside down.
I would not have it any other way.
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