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 for the United States Navy and, among other things, designed ejection systems for their elite force of fighter jets. His mother spent a career in education, teaching first deaf students and then later giving one-on-one instruction to some of the more dangerous teenagers in Los Angeles.
After graduating from high school, Eric went to the cold environs of Michigan State University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree. Then, he traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to the tiny island that houses what he calls our "mother culture," Great Britain. Working with the distinguished astronomer Michael Penston of Cambridge University, Eric earned his master's degree there and left the gray skies of England for the sunny mountainsides of Arizona. At the University of Arizona, Eric earned his doctorate in astronomy.
"I love Brits and have worked with mostly Brits since then."
From the University of Arizona, Eric moved to Boston to work at Harvard's Center for Astrophysics. While there, he worked for Dr. Belinda Wilkes, a native Brit. "I love Brits," says Eric, "and have worked with mostly Brits since [living in England]." Indeed, he has worked with almost a half-dozen British-born astronomers and continued to do so while a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Texas.
"It leverages my efforts."
Eric maintains a longstanding interest in education and outreach to the public. As part of an NSF Fellowship, he worked in the University of Texas' UTeach program for training the next generation of secondary science teachers. Eric finds it a stimulating and valuable program, "since it leverages my efforts, gives me a chance to work with students both in and out of astronomy, and I have a whole new set of friends and colleagues, including master teachers." He also continues to work at the Astronomy Camp in Arizona, a program to which he has contributed since early in graduate school.
"Basically, whatever I can find time to do."
In his free time, Eric has many interests. He enjoys reading, and his favorite authors include Shakespeare and Poe. He also enjoys reading science fiction novels, historical non-fiction, and other works of classical literature. Eric is interested in growing things as well. His garden includes lots of peppers, herbs, tomatoes, lettuce, and broccoli. Eric is an avid downhill skier and enjoys friendly games of volleyball.
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Arizona
M.Phil., Physics, Cambridge University
B.S., Astrophysics & Mathematics, Michigan State University