Astronomers

Researchers with upcoming projects at McDonald Observatory include:

For years, Melike Afsar had no idea she was going to be an astronomer. "I was always interested in astronomy and watched space-related documentaries with a lot of enthusiasm. I just never thought I...
ASA group trip 2011
Jesús Aguilar is an undergraduate studying astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin. He was president of the Astronomy Students Association from fall of 2010 through spring of 2012.
Growing up in Northern Spain, Carlos Allende Prieto went to many schools there including the Universities of Oviedo, Santander, and La Laguna. His wife Elena is also from Spain. When it was finally...
Thomas G. Barnes
Tom Barnes, Superintendent of McDonald Observatory, grew up in Ohio, but now considers his hometown to be Austin, Texas. His father was an auditor, and the family moved a lot to accommodate the elder...
Astronomy always fascinated Amanda Bauer as a child, but she never thought that it could be a feasible career. Although she enjoyed the math club in high school, she really didn't see herself using...
Fritz Benedict
Fritz Benedict, Senior Research Scientist at the University of Texas, loves to sail. "I've got a Catalina 22 on Lake Travis," he says, "and I get to go too darn few times." When he's not sailing,...
Guillermo Blanc says he wasn't interested in astronomy as a kid, but that all changed when he was 15 years old. "My dad gave me a book called Ancient Light by Alan Lightman," he recalls. "It's...
Once a mathematics major, Michel Breger was instantly won over by astronomy. "I was a math tutor and one of my students was an astronomy major. I think he taught me more about astronomy than I taught...
If Erik Brugamyer wasn't an astronomer, he says he'd be a dog trainer. He describes his dog Gus as a "Frisbee dog that does tricks." When he isn't training his somersaulting pet, he also enjoys disc...
Luz Marina Cairos Barreto, "Luzma" to her friends, knows what it's like to be away from home. She grew up in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands, where she was born five minutes from the beach and...
The profession of astronomy comes with both rewards and sacrifices. When post-doctoral student Barbara Castanheira decided to study abroad in America, she left behind her family and her native Brazil...
Dean Chandler loves astronomy, he says, even though he's "not a vocational astronomer." Dean spends most of his daylight hours doing electronic design work for the consulting firm that he founded....
Taylor Chonis loved astronomy from a young age. "I started building my own telescopes in fourth and fifth grade. We lived far enough outside Kansas City to see the bright part of the Milky Way."...
Astronomer Damian Christian of California State University, Northridge, can remember wanting to be an astronomer as early as age 12. Growing up, he had a small Tasco telescope and did the occasional...
Let us be frank with you. The image that you hold of astronomers -- that they are nerdy guys and gals who sometimes wear black socks with sandals -- is mostly true. However, occasionally, you find...
Anita L. Cochran
Twelve-year old Anita Cochran visited Brookhaven National Laboratory near her hometown of New York City. Although she had been encouraged to explore science by her father and several teachers, Anita...
The explorers of old forged into new lands and uncharted territories, pursuing conquests for their queens and kings and forming a legacy of adventure to follow them for centuries to come. Over the...
Astronomer by day, astronomer by night, Mark Cornell, is one of those lucky people whose careers intersect their hobbies. For him, this stems in part from a longstanding interest of his: amateur...
UT astronomer and professor Harriet Dinerstein grew up in the middle of New York City. The light pollution of this vast city made it impossible to see the stars at night. However, Harriet was...
University of Texas astronomer Sally Dodson-Robinson lived in many different places growing up. "Born in LA. Lived in Orange County, Utah, Colorado and Round Rock [Texas]," she says. As a kid, Sally...
"I got interested in astronomy during my studies of physics," Niv Drory says. "I had a strong interest for astronomy as a teenager, but when I started studying physics, I wasn't actually sure I...
With the intention of steering clear of astronomy as a profession, Jacqueline Dunn says she began her undergraduate education at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth with an astronomy minor...
The best part of astronomy for Research Scientist Michael Endl is the "excitement of discovery," he says. Mike uses his time at McDonald Observatory to search for extrasolar planets, that is,...
Neal J. Evans
In the search for the origins of stars and planets, there are few who can match the invested time, interest, and enthusiasm of astronomer Neal Evans. His newest project will provide insight into the...
Mike Fanelli's research interests include evolution of galaxies and their stars - and he looks for patterns in the formation of massive stars, both in three-dimensional space and over time. He has...
As a graduate student in physics at the New York University in Manhattan, Steve Federman says, "somebody showed me pretty pictures" of astronomical phenomena. Sparking an interest in the discipline,...
David Fisher grew up in Waxahachie, Texas -- a mile from the now defunct main campus of the Texas Superconducting Super Collider. Little did he know then that Physics would become a part of his life...
You could say that gravity drew Bi-Qing For into studying astronomy. When she was a young student growing up in Malaysia, she recalled being awestruck when she watched comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 crash...
There was a time in Anna Frebel's life when she had to choose between sewing and science. "I love fashion design," Anna said. "I love to take a piece of cloth and make some fancy clothes out of it."...
Emily Freeland grew up in Bloomington, Indiana. "I really liked physics in high school and had a great teacher. One day I realized that astronomy was just using physics to find out information about...
Peter Frinchaboy says he has always been interested in astronomy, even as a young boy. He had a small telescope and enjoyed looking at the Moon. He also read science fiction books, which further...
Jian Ge a Research Foundation professor at the University of Florida. His research interests are concentrated on developing and applying new instrument techniques and instruments for new astronomical...
Karl Gebhardt
If faculty member Karl Gebhardt wasn't an astronomer at the University of Texas, he would want to be a construction worker. In fact, he worked in construction while he was in graduate school,...
When things start going wrong with the telescopes at McDonald, there is a team of engineers that work to keep the machinery — some of it decades old — running smoothly so astronomers can continue...
Joel Green is a research associate at the University of Texas at Austin.
When Judit Gyorgyey Ries was in the 6th grade in Hungary, she read a book about astronomy whose title is roughly translated as Tales of the Moon. It was this book that made her "totally fall in love...
The tunes of Judas Priest wafted from the 0.9-meter Telescope dome at McDonald Observatory while Gerald Handler observed pulsating stars. That's what he likes most about observing; he says he can "...
Paul Harvey grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with two younger brothers. His dad was a mechanical engineer, and his mom was a draftswoman. From a young age, he was interested in...
Artie Hatzes is an American astronomer who works as a professor in Germany. For many years prior, he worked at McDonald Observatory, collaborating with Bill Cochran on searches for extrasolar planets...
After taking a high school class in astronomy, Amanda Heiderman was asked what she was going to do for a job. "I didn't really know the answer but I said I was going to work on astronomy because I...
Teacher Workshop at McDonald Observatory
During the 1960s, most college women were strongly advised to get a teaching certificate. In order to do this at Notre Dame of Ohio, Mary Kay was required to take a certain psychology class, which...
Astronomy graduate student JJ Hermes grew up Houston and New Orleans, and says he did not spend much time looking at the sky. He didn't even have a telescope. As a student at The University of Texas...
Ever think about who is your model astronomer? How about a person who likes music, is in awe of old cathedrals, and first became interested in astronomy while having his appendix removed? Well,...
Eric Hooper grew up in California. He attended elementary and junior high school in Los Angeles and high school in the Mojave desert, where the kids "went a little stir-crazy." Eric's father worked...
One of the first things that Sehyun Hwangadmired about the United States was the snow. "In the winter in Wyoming, we had lots of snow, almost every day, and I loved to go skiing with my friends."...
In third grade, Myungshin Im made a Kappa-monster costume by himself out of carton papers and received first prize for it. "Other kids had commercially produced costumes which looked better in my...
In third grade, Myungshin Im made a Kappa-monster costume by himself out of carton papers and received first prize for it. "Other kids had commercially produced costumes which looked better in my...
Shardha Jogee
Just east of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean lies the tiny island republic of Mauritius, birthplace of University of Texas astronomer Shardha Jogee. With a blossoming career that just doesn't seem to...