Turning a hobby into a career

Robert Quimby didn't plan on being an astronomer. In fact, as he was growing up, he says he was encouraged by his family to take up engineering. But when he graduated from high school and it came time to pick a direction for his life, he didn't feel that engineering was what he wanted to do. Instead he decided to follow astronomy, then only a fun hobby, and make it into a career.

"I like to know how things work," Robert says. Influential physics teachers also helped in this decision because not only were they good teachers, but they piqued his interest in other ways as well by bringing to class items such as climbing gear or bikes. One teacher in particular shared Robert's interest in the trombone and they would play together after school.

From Billiards and Basketball to Arts and Entertainment

Robert hasn't played his trombone in several years, but he says music is still an enjoyable hobby for him. "Music helps with focus and your level of concentration," he says, adding that his experience with music helped him develop skills that are beneficial in everything he does, including work.

As for other hobbies, Robert enjoys playing pool and basketball and watching good movies. He also likes photography, featuring mostly landscapes because "people are hard." He sometimes uses black and white film but says he always feels like he's cheating because everything looks good and particularly dramatic in black and white.

Robert grew up in Long Beach, California and received his undergraduate degree in astrophysics from UC Berkeley before coming to Texas to complete his education. Robert received the Trumpler Award from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for his outstanding dissertation research.

Robert Quimby
Post-doctoral Fellow, Caltech
Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Texas at Austin
M.S., Astronomy, University of Texas at Austin
A.B., Astrophysics, University of California-Berkeley